There are different leaders. Angela Merkel, for example, the Chancellor, who despite or because of her deliberate and wait-and-see attitude, has been able to unite the country for a long time. Oliver Zipse, the very correct CEO, who calmly leads BMW in difficult times. Or Jürgen Klopp, who leads world-famous football teams as a manly and down-to-earth coach.
And then there’s Herbert Diess. He’s a brutal bonebreaker – or, to put it more nicely, a very impatient provocateur. In doing so, he succeeded in bringing Volkswagen into a new era, electric mobility. But more and more people – including those who are sympathetic towards him – are rightly wondering if his manners are still up to date.
In recent weeks, he has once again unpacked his usual management tools. He had worked out savings scenarios (what 30,000 jobs could be lost at VW?), Praised competitor Tesla, ignored the workforce – and thus reliably sparked a big dispute. He likes it, it’s only by friction that new things happen, it’s his attitude. His entourage reports that he is currently walking through the Wolfsburg factory in an exceptional mood.
The word alienation can be heard from all sides
His other thought – besides gaining pleasure from conflict – is understandable as well: he wants to break down the structures and processes of the VW car company. Almost anyone who knows Wolfsburg better will deny that a lot needs to change here. Anyone who runs VW must be able to appear uncomfortable in this regard.
The problem is, it really only seems like it can break bones. Since taking office, he has continued to drive the place crazy with provocations. Seen from the outside, it’s still great entertainment value, and inside, some things are moving – but not just for good. Over the summer, however, his contract was extended, combined with the demand that he now act in a more balanced manner. This should be possible, especially since his worst opponent, works council chairman Bernd Osterloh, was recently expelled. A thought.
But now the game has started again. And now the word alienation can be heard everywhere in an understandable way. The following applies to good leadership: one who breaks, must be able to unite, must create trust, must balance. If Herbert Diess continues to fail – and imagination fails, as he is socialized – his time at the top of VW will soon be over. The trust of the Porsche and Piëch families can be important. The attitude of the co-owner of Lower Saxony is, however, much more decisive. And there will be a vote in the coming year. SPD Prime Minister Stephan Weil will do everything possible to bring calm to VW on the election date.