Madhu Einsiedler


Take inspiration from my ideas on leadership, ideas that transcend the usual leadership content of coaching websites.

Active in this field for over 20 years, I was myself a leader (my biggest project was change management- communication, organisational change and training – during the introduction of SAP into a company with 3,200 employees in 4 countries. My change team comprised 24 consultants). I, probably like you, have experienced both extraordinarily good and extraordinarily bad leadership.

The realisation that in 2001 prompted my husband Bernhard and myself to set up our einsiedler&einsiedler og, „Consulting and Coaching for Leaders“ was, in a nutshell, that there is no overestimating the influence of leadership- both good and bad- on companies and their employees (and therefore in the long run on society).

I worked through the following stages of awareness:

  1. People in companies are structured into hierarchies with the aim of more efficiently and effectively reaching company targets through role division and allocation. Hierarchy breeds leadership – someone (a leader) has the authority to assign tasks to someone else (the employees) and keep tabs on their work.
  2. But leadership exists all around us, whenever people meet and relationships are formed, indeed throughout society.
  3. Leadership is always a person-to-person thing and as such is always based on a relationship, hence on the bonding and relational patterns we have assimilated.

Having asked myself the chicken and egg question in organisational theory- what comes first? Does the company influence the people or is it the people that influence the company?- my answer would be that it is the people who create and design the organisation through more or less conscious decisions and actions (a debatable point of view, as I am well aware- some see company organisation as an independent entity, and  structure does of course influence behaviour).

I also view leadership in the same (some would say) radical terms, whereby for me the focus is firmly on the leader as a person- on you, in other words.

Every leader has assimilated one or more leadership paradigms, which probably would not be referred to as such, that are determined by society and of which we are scarcely aware, if at all.

Besides shaping personal values and behaviour, these paradigms also determine both personal and organisational behaviour- in leaders as well as employees.

These paradigms determine the leadership work and culture of every company. They support or obstruct the company’s ability to work, and underlie every challenge faced by the company, be this on leadership issues or more generally in the interaction between management and staff.

Each paradigm brings with it a series of challenges, expectations and images for oneself and thus also for our own mental and gut concept of leadership, which in turn shapes our own behaviour in leadership situations.

Thus these paradigms provide a useful template for furthering leadership work and cooperation between leaders and employees, or coming up with effective solutions to the challenges that lie ahead.

To give some examples of questions that lead to growth and further development:

  • What paradigm (or paradigms) is/are to be found in your company?
  • Which paradigm are you yourself striving for in your leadership position. Which do you demonstrate under stress?
  • Which paradigms do you want to see in the people you lead. Which do you experience in your daily life and work as a leader?

Unconsciously, programmes for developing leadership qualities tend to build upon one or the other paradigm, yet it is always the images and values underlying the paradigms that determine our actions, without us actually consciously trying to control this.

Identification with one or the other value is usually so deep-seated that to label or express it is nigh-on impossible. Fear of pending destabilisation looms so large that defence mechanisms kick in even before we can start to reflect.

Really Good Coaching, team support and organisational development are needed here in order to facilitate real growth that transcends behavioural training.

Usually, however, attempts to develop leadership qualities tend to get no further than the formulation of target values and behaviour.

These target values and behaviours are then supposed to be trained up in two days. They will subsequently be applied with varying degrees of success.

I am sure you are familiar with the situation whereby in the absence of real growth and particularly under stress, the old automatic reactions kick in and take their course, sometimes helpfully, sometimes less so.

To my mind, the solution to this challenge speaks for itself- we can only continue to develop as leaders if we grow as people.

If we become aware of our most automatic mechanisms towards:

  • Stabilisation
  • Control
  • Recognition
  • Forming relationships

and clearly recognise where unhelpful mechanisms kick in, we can solve the good reasons underlying these mechanisms in a respectful way.

This leads to the emergence of new behavioural options that transcend behavioural training and takes to a new, deeper level:

  • The development of leadership qualities,
  • The definition of leadership,
  • Of leader,
  • Of employees

Lasting success can only be achieved through this type of in-depth growth, despite

  • The challenge of globalisation,
  • The changing society in which we live
  • The never-ending “higher, further, faster”,
  • The progressive destabilisation of time-honoured systems.

Besides allowing us to remain effective and efficient in our work, this in-depth growth also makes work rewarding and enriching, thus fostering innovation.

Sparked your interest? Want to learn more? Contact me.