A new leadership and talent development program in Germany teaches managers to get the best out of millennials
07/12/2016 Munich

Spaced out as three two-day seminars over 6 months, the program also has a highly hands-on format / Photo: David Adamson

One in two employees in the U.S. has quit their job in the course of their career to get away from their manager. In Germany, it is one in every four. Today’s employees have high expectations and retaining them requires managers to be engaged. Which is why Autoris founder Prof. Matthias Ehrhardt and IESE Prof. Sebastian Reiche have designed a new program launching at the Munich campus in January: “Leading Talent: Helping People Grow People”.

“There’s a simple but powerful proposition,” explains Reiche, “millennials of today are not being promised job security. If employers can’t offer them a secure job, they have to offer something else in order to retain them – and this is to maintain and improve their employability. Companies can send personnel on training courses, but what’s more powerful is combining this with day-to-day development from their leader.”

Only about 30% of employees in Germany and the U.S. are engaged at work. The ‘people factor’ is a huge challenge for companies. While the new program will attract a highly international cohort, it is particularly relevant to its initial base country. “In Germany, the whole notion of leadership is different,” says Reiche, “it’s less about the leader and more about management. There is therefore even more of a need to focus on leadership development.”

Spaced Out, Global and Hands-on
This new customized program is delivered as three two-day seminars over the course of six months – “it’s important to space the modules out so that managers can go away, practice the tools and techniques, and then come back with any questions,” asserts Reiche.

Each module covers a different aspect of leadership and people development: “The first is about the methodology and tools;” explains Reiche, “the second is on how to foster innovativeness through a design-thinking based approach, and the third looks at talent in a more global context. The last module doesn’t just apply to international leaders – as the workforce is becoming more multicultural there are implications for leading diversity.”

Participants utilize state-of-the-art tools and touch on methods from coaching, mentoring and facilitation to become better listeners, ask the right questions, and give effective feedback. CEO of a talent development firm and program facilitator, Prof. Ehrhardt, employs his ICON process (Identify, Create, Optimize and Nurture), which serves leaders as a tool for maintaining engaged and empowering relationships with the people they work with.

What also makes this program different from some others of its kind is its “hands-on” format, with participants continually breaking out into small groups to apply their insights. And, of course, the IESE case method is employed throughout.

The program is directed at Heads of HR, small to medium-sized business owners, venture capitalists, private equity managers, and entrepreneurs.

Benefits Beyond Participants
“We want to help leaders to become coaches,” says Reiche. “On the program, they develop solutions for how their reports can develop themselves. They need a toolkit to do this, for example, tests that assess the personality and preferences of those they are coaching. It also takes a while – it’s an investment that reaps rewards but also requires managers to be in conversations on a regular basis.”

The reward does not simply manifest itself in employee results, the coach also benefits from their own growth. “When you develop and coach others, you develop as a leader too,” comments Reiche.

The professor is confident that learnings on the program will extend beyond participants and their mentees: “In introducing such a coaching approach to senior team members we hope that that it will trickle down to their direct reports, who will carry it through to their own leadership relationships as well.”