Creation of the Foundation for Responsible Leadership

Dr. Albert Frieder. (Photo: Kolja Matzke)
Dr. Albert Frieder is the initiator of the Circle for Responsible Leaders. (Photo: Kolja Matzke)

Responsible Leadership has been developed in order to efficiently address economical failures in enterprises. To achieve this, promising conditions have been created that will allow company managers to put such principles into practice.

Following the creation of the Foundation for Responsible Leadership, Simon Müller conducted a discussion with Dr. Albert Frieder, member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Objectives of the Foundation for Responsible Leadership

Simon Müller (SM): The Foundation for Responsible Leadership was established after a three-year preparation period. What are its objectives?

Dr. Albert Frieder (AF): The lack of responsibility, as well as the behavioral misconduct and a clueless attitude of some bank managers have reached an unprecedented scope. Sanctions and hard measures taken against certain actors of the financial market, such as those recently applied by the Finma, are insufficient, and most of all, too late.

Today, it has become extremely important to find efficient solutions that will strengthen responsible and responsibility-minded leaders and managers – especially in regard to future generations of leaders. These solutions should have as objectives the application of success factors such as integrity and sense of responsibility. The success of an enterprise needs to be based on such attitudes.

SM: How is the Foundation structurally organised?

AF: The Foundation consists of a Board of Trustees and a management board, and sponsors the Circle for Responsible Leaders. This circle offers company managers an efficient platform that will allow them to help and strengthen each other mutually and while promoting a successful development. At the moment we are putting together an “Inner Circle”, which consists of responsibility-conscious managers from various branches, as well as a membership model. This structure constitutes the basis for the Competence Center for Responsible Leadership at the Institute for Business Ethics at the University of St.Gallen.

SM: Which kind of responsibility are you precisely addressing?

AF: The Circle of Responsible Leaders aims at various levels of responsibility. Apart from the economical responsibility, the Circle will also address responsibility for the people within the enterprise (employees) as well as outside (clients and shareholders), the responsibility of younger managers who will take over, as well as the responsibility towards ourselves as individuals.

Definition of Responsible Leadership

SM: How would you define Responsible Leadership?

AF: The Competence Center for Responsible Leadership is presently working on establishing a list of criteria and evaluation directives that will be taken into account. The members of the Inner Circle will provide an important contribution, based on their practical experience. Ability Management, i.e. the taking into account of special abilities and capabilities, plays an important role. We all know that satisfaction is not derived from the work or the profession itself, but rather from the success experienced at work, which is only possible by focussing on one’s abilities and capacities.

SM: You are the initiator of the Foundation and of the Circle for Responsible Leaders.

AF: The experience I have acquired in the course of the last 40 years as well as the recent events in the financial branch have prompted me, while taking part in a strategy event that took place early 2011, to implement this idea as well as an antithesis for employers and enterprises. Without the exceptional support of Monique Bär, supervisor as well as an experienced ethics specialist, this idea would not have become reality so rapidly. I have great esteem for her, both on a personal as well as on a professional level.

SM: What are the next steps?

AF: The first priority consists in defining Responsible Leadership in a precise and practical manner, as well as pursuing the establishment of the Circle for Leadership, i.e. defining its conditions, offers and events.

SM: Dr. Frieder, I thank you for this discussion.

MyHandicap 01/2015

Dr. Albert Frieder is member of the Advisory Board and of the Expert Committee at the University of St.Gallen, as well as CEO of the International Foundation MyHandicap. He looks back onto more than 35 years of professional experience in the management of renowned international management consulting companies, as well as in the business, corporate and management development of various companies, organisations and authorities. He was also chairman of the executive board at the Malik Management Center in St.Gallen and is presently member of the Board of Trustees and of the Board of Directors.