Masters in Leadership

Blog of the Master Programme Leadership

What is Leadership?


To be honest, there is no easy answer to that question. In our Master’s Program Leadership at Karlshochschule International University, we are discussing leadership, the roles and competencies of leaders and many more aspects from a broad variety of standpoints. We are applying perspectives from business, organizational theory, psychology, sociology, etc. – talking and doing research about communicative action, leadership skills, leading in projects, and much more. But the more answers we get, the more new questions will arise. In the 2nd study year most of our students realize how dramatically these different perspectives of leadership can clash in the real world. In the 3rd semester they are busy with the so called “On-the-Job Assignment”, where they apply their newly acquired knowledge about leadership in a real world situations.

In the video you will probably find further perspectives on leadership: Professor Nitin Nohria and Amanda Pepper of Harvard Business School’s Leadership Initiative collaborated with the Design Thinking consultancy XPLANE to create this video in order to generate a discussion of the value and importance of leadership to address some of societys most pressing problems.

More information on
Thanks to Marvin Rottenberg, former head of Karlshochschule’s SIFE Team for sharing the video.


  1. My gut feeling is that most of the executives know what good leadership means.
    Most of them tend to work around the clock. Nevertheless,
    many of them are intimately involved in daily operations but neglect their core duties. They work and manage hard, but take too little time for the real leadership tasks.

    I believe this is a big problem for most of the executives around the world. They know what leadership means, they want to lead but they are caught in their day to day operations.

    Best Regards

    • Thanks a lot for your comment. I agree that overload is a key problem in our business community. For sure organizational and individual overload kills awareness, mindfulness and creativity in organizations. But I disagree that the majority of the leaders know what good leadership is. First of all, I doubt that it is possible to define ‘good’ leadership anyway. Furthermore leaders tend to develop developed extremely trivial (and limited) concepts of leadership. Aspects like recursivity, the attribution of leadership by followers and the complexity of organizations are often neglected. We have learned (see for example the misjudgments of Peters & Waterman in the 1980s) that ‘good’ leadership is related to certain temporal and organizational conditions, but nothing that can attributed to certain individuals easily. Last not least leadership means for my understanding the ability to change unsatisfying and ineffective conditions. Can one be a ‘good’ leader and complain to be trapped in operations at the same time?

  2. I agree with both of you. Most people somehow “feel” and intuitively know what “good” leadership is but are not able to define it. So I think at the end of the day good leadership is what helps the organization (and the humans within the organization) to thrive and flourish.
    But if you are a good leader (or at least believe that you are) you should not complain about the situation and what hinders you to perform as a leader. “Love it, change it, or leave it!”. If you are not able either to love or to change the conditions within the organization you should leave it. This is most consequently good leadership.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.