Giving trust and harvesting responsibility

EUPRIO-Directors Briefing starts successfully. How can it work to fulfil the complex tasks in a communication department under the new challenges of a digital office? How can colleagues be brought along and motivated? These and other questions were discussed by organisational scientist and digitalisation expert Isabelle M. Welpe from the Technical University of Munich at the 1st EUPRIO Directors Briefing with almost 30 heads of communication departments.
1st Euprio Directors Briefing

We are all currently facing great challenges! While we used to do our jobs in direct exchange with the university management and our colleagues inside and outside our departments, today we are  – sometimes more, sometimes less – in remote mode. This often works better than expected, but there are still deficits: some colleagues are difficult in co-working and to coaching under these conditions, and it is not uncommon for agreements to get lost in the “digital nirvana”.

Leading, organising and developing new ideas in the digital office

This is where the lecture by Isabell M. Welpe, Professor of Strategy and Organisation at her university, came in. She teaches Leadership, Human Resource Management, and Managing People and Organisations and her research interests are in New Public Management, leadership, future concepts of work and organisations, impact of digital technologies and social media and strategic innovation.

Isabel Welpe
Isabel Welpe

The important message was that Corona has dramatically advanced an already ongoing development in a very short time: The digitalisation of our everyday work. Therefore, even after the pandemic, there will be no going back to the way things were before. The new forms of hybrid working - sometimes in the office, sometimes at home - will remain with us and it is therefore essential that managers in particular develop themselves accordingly. Among other things, Prof. Welpe presented two central theses:

  1. Trust instead of control: a remote operation cannot be permanently controlled and, incidentally, control has not been the appropriate management style in a dynamic department so far. In the digital office, trust in the employees is the essential success factor, because experience shows that employees who are trusted show a significantly higher sense of responsibility towards the department and towards the company, the university.
  2. Define clear rules: However, in order for employees to act responsibly and make decisions, they need a clear framework, a default mechanism, within which they can work. This default framework provides security for individual decisions and at the same time defines the exceptions to these rules, which then need to be discussed in more detail. The whole thing is therefore a process within a learning organisation that makes it stronger and more capable of acting even under difficult conditions.

The future has already begun, ducking away doesn't help here and neither does complaining. So we need more trust, more participation and more flexibility to be able to act successfully in the future, as heads of a department in general and to master the daily challenges as a team.

Short, informative and problem-oriented

The EUPRIO Directors Briefing is a new format that EUPRIO intends to offer on a regular basis in the future and is specifically aimed at heads of communication departments at universities. It will therefore always be about how to make the internal organisation of the department and thus also the work better and more efficient, how to further develop the capacity for innovation and, last but not least, what new developments are discernible in the field of higher education and especially in the field of university communication. For the time being, this will be a digital offering that takes up a topic in the framework of an hour, allows an expert to speak and then concludes with a discussion of the theses.

More to come?!

For further briefings we need your support: send us topics and possible speakers or even better, organise a session yourself. The technical basis is there!

Further Information:

1st EUPRIO Directors Briefing

Isabell M. Welpe

Mag. Uwe Steger, Director of Communications - University of Innsbruck (Austria)

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