Want to lead successfully? Become a Wolpertinger! – Part 1 of the blog series: Influencing yourself and others

A few weeks back, an Executive told me about an internal discussion on what an ideal board member should be like. The answer: Strong leader as well as willing team player! And, of course, incredibly productive.

Many of you may shake their head and say that this is not and will not be possible. But I say: Not only is it possible – but it needs to be done. In the future, managers will need far more flexibility in their thinking, in their actions, in their reactions - ergo in their whole being than is the case today.

What do tomorrow's bosses need?

What do the managers and executives of tomorrow need? Speed and composure. The knowledge of what they are doing as well as the ability to admit that they don't know everything. Appreciation towards employees, customers, society as well as profit orientation. Allow others to shine as well as employing charisma where necessary. In short: You must become a Wolpertinger.

Wolpertinger? If you have not heard of it, you are probably not from Bavaria. Yet, a closer look at this fantastic animal is worth your while. The Wolpertinger exists thanks to taxidermists who love to attach duck wings to rabbits and is an integral part of Bavarian folklore.  The Wolpertinger has whatever is needed:  claws and paws, rabbit ears, wings and antlers, snouts, tusks and much more. The Wolpertinger is the symbol of being the boss in the year 2030, in the year 2070 - and honestly already today.

In a Munich museum, the legendary Wolpertinger even has an entire showcase. With good reason. Appearing in an infinite number of forms, it is the symbol for flexibility whilst still possessing a solid essence. No aggressive ego that feels easily attacked by people and has to lash out. But a healthy, strong self that is ready to do whatever it takes to achieve a meaningful goal.

Just look at one of these animals. What is it capable of? It can fight and be diplomatic, it can soar and dig deep, it can chirp and bite, it can hear, feel and see perfectly. And yet, or perhaps precisely because of this, its nature is stable. It does not have to reject good ideas because they do not come from it, it does not have to be offended because someone shouts at it, it does not have to insist on not making mistakes or condemning them in others.

The boss as Wolpertinger

As a boss, the Wolpertinger perceives the environment, concentrates on its goals, shows appreciation, allows others to convince it, but also goes into battle for its own good ideas. It carries a calmness within itself and is not easily shaken.

Is it difficult to be like this? Be honest: It's easy once you set your mind to it. Just as you can be politely reserved in a shop, lovingly directing to your children, listening appreciatively to your parents, wisely respectful to a policeman, without being defensive or feeling offended by the world.

In the same way you can and must act as a boss. The only difference: it is in a single place, in a continuous process of change that you have to employ all these behaviours, all actions and reactions, namely at work. This means that you must have a good grip on your own so very human inattention and laziness. The task it to be present for every new situation and avoid slipping into standardized reactions.

What does this mean for you right now? Go through the Wolpertinger characteristics which your work requires already today. Let grow what must grow - the horns, the ears, the snout, the fur or the shell. And watch the movie "Lincoln" or read the book (https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Team-of-Rivals/Doris-Kearns-Goodwin/9781451688092) as an inspiration for a boss who never loses sight of his goal, his people nor of himself. And believe me: Wolpertinger cannot be mistaken!