Created by Marc Chmielewski

Leading leaders means actively shaping the leadership culture

Whether it is a question of attracting talent or integrating acquired companies, the question of what culture is experienced in a company has now become a competitive factor of growing significance both for multinationals and medium-sized companies.

Whether it is a question of attracting talent or integrating acquired companies, the question of what culture is experienced in a company has now become a competitive factor of growing significance both for multinationals and medium-sized companies.

If we consider culture to be the sum of all behaviour both displayed and experienced in the day-to-day reality of a company, it becomes clear that ‘culture’ is something that develops of its own accord. Culture is always there and cannot be avoided. All leaders who lead others who lead have a special significance in actively shaping the culture. This is because an organisation’s culture is largely formed by leadership behaviour. The core activity of a leader who leads other leaders is concerned with leadership activity in the level below. In our experience, what matters in the development of an organisation-wide, positive leadership culture, is making leaders of leaders aware of the influence of their behaviour not only on the next level but on all other levels of the organisation below that.


Leading others first of all requires a leader to actively address leadership interventions that are suitable for positively influencing the self-organisation that will take place anyway at both an individual level and at a team level. In this context the question that needs to be answered concretely is: “How do I ensure that my team members are successful in implementing their operational tasks?” From a systemic point of view, it is primarily a question of creating an effective framework within which the team members can act in a self-organised way. To this end, it is crucial that the leader reflects on his or her own leadership behaviour and together with the team develops a shared understanding of goals and ways of working together, on the basis of which feedback on performance and behaviour can be provided. Of course, these challenges are basically still there in the leadership of different hierarchical levels.

“When leading leaders, be aware of the influence your own leadership activities
have at all levels in your organisation.”


The focus when leading a team of leaders, however, is on providing effective support to these leaders in their own leadership activities and in addition in developing a shared idea of leadership itself. Therefore, the question that needs answering is: “How do I ensure that my leaders support their direct reports in successfully implementing their operational tasks?” This means making both leadership in general and leadership activity at a day-to-day level an explicit topic in order to work towards a successful synchronisation of a shared leadership culture.

In our experience, leading other leaders effectively requires the focused development of further leadership competences. These include the ability to reflect on one’s own leadership behaviour and develop strategies to make leadership a constant and explicit topic with the organisation. The leadership development programmes designed by Movendo Consulting therefore vary according to the particular challenges of the leadership level. We approach the particular challenges of leading leaders in a variety of ways: ranging from simulations involving leadership over two levels, exercises designed to explicitly reveal and influence the understanding of leadership, to the measurability of leadership behaviour and the establishment of routines designed to anchor leadership in the organisation in a sustainable way.

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