Poulfelt: Leadership needs to be informal

Booms and busts are getting closer together in today's economic cycle. This makes greater demands on today's leaders - they need to be informal and create meaning in our jobs. This is the view of Flemming Poulfelt, Professor at CBS, who celebrated his 40th anniversary by providing insight into Leadership right now


The event "Leadership right now" at CBS was very popular for two reasons. First, the financial crisis imposes new requirements on business leaders, who cannot afford being without knowledge that help their companies survive. The second reason for the completely packed auditorium was that the organiser of the event, Flemming Poulfelt, celebrated his 40th anniversary by sharing his most recent research. Flemming Poulfelt is Professor at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy and Vice Dean of Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination at CBS.

Necessary changes
Right from the beginning of the event, Flemming Poulfelt spiced the current managerial challenges with a lot of gestures and his always accommodating attitude:

- It is so great to see you! Welcome to "Leadership right now". Today's business leaders are having a hard time right now. They are constantly challenged by conflicting requirements, and our time is characterised by ups and downs. One day there are positive expectations to the retail trade, the next day they are gone. One day Lego is laughing all the way to the bank, the next day they sack their employees, Poulfelt said.

Despite the conditions of our time, it is the responsibility of the leaders to create the changes that are necessary in order to make their companies cope on the currently unstable market or handle customers better and thereby increase the profit.

The leader makes sense by thinking upside-down
A leader has to be able to lead his employees in an informal way and help make the work make sense, said Flemming Poulfelt and referred to today's tendencies in the area of management and leadership:

In the future, leaders must be able to create meaningful jobs. Leaders must develop the level of motivation, because we create better results if we like what we are doing. Leaders must generate drive and commitment by promoting energy and enthusiasm. Leaders must be pioneers and exercise their managerial rights to influence and have an affect on people. Not only is it the job of the leaders of the future to say which values are important to the company, but also to decide which values are essential to the company, said Flemming Poulfelt and encouraged the leaders of today to think upside-down.

He used Google to exemplify a company that has turned things upside-down. Google has not made a lot of money on the product that is mostly used by the customers. Google has thought differently and found new ways to make a profit.

What Poulfelt encourages the leaders of the future to do:

  • Be a part of the paradise of challenges - the way the leader lets him or herself be challenged is decisive to how the challenge is handled - this decides the outcome
  • Think upside-down/differently - just like Google
  • Justify the consumption of resources - use the remaining 20 per cent of the capacities
  • Go from 'best practice' to 'future practice'
  • FThe leaders of tomorrow must be passionate and want to make sense, build trust and loyalty, be open, patient, have the ability to create confidence and friendship, be enterprising and inventive

Contact: Flemming Poulfelt, Professor, fp.lpf@cbs.dk

The page was last edited by: Communications // 04/10/2013