Jun 18, 2021

5 questions for Antonia Döbler, Leadership Development.

There’s one thing Antonia Döbler loves the most about working for Bechtle—and it’s leeway. It’s her daily business to drive and develop the leadership culture in her company. In this interview she tells us what she expects from a good leader and how she came to move to Baden-Württemberg a year and a half ago, after finding just the right job vacancy.

written by

Corporate Communications

E-Mail: lukas.gebuehr@bechtle.com

1. Antonia, can you tell us a little something about your background and how you came to Bechtle?

Antonia Döbler: I studied Psychology at the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden), specialising in Business Psychology in my Master’s degree—understanding human behaviour has always interested me. During my studies, I quickly realised that the topic of human resources development appealed to me due its incredibly diversity. I was lucky enough to be able to start my career in human resources development at TU Dresden straight after graduating.

I became aware of Bechtle through an interesting advertisement for a job in Leadership Development. HR development itself has become commonplace, but a company that places its focus on developing its leaders is really something special! I really believe that good leaders are one of the most important factors for a productive working atmosphere and successful collaboration. The scope of good leadership work in a company is enormous, which is why it a can make such a huge impact to develop them—and I wanted to contribute. And that’s how I ended up at Bechtle, about a year and a half ago.

2. What are your tasks in leadership development?

To put it simply, I spend almost every day thinking a lot about how to improve leadership at Bechtle! To this end, we have developed a broad portfolio of different measures in our team. I’m responsible for Bechtle Leadership Feedback. We all know that leaders are usually good at giving regular feedback to their staff, but often find it difficult to ask for feedback on their own leadership behaviour. This is where we implement a two-way feedback tool. My core tasks include the Group-wide employee satisfaction survey and the supervision of the General Management Programme, our in-house development programme for managers.

3. At the moment, leadership is on everybody’s lips. What does “good leadership” mean to you?

When we talk about leadership, we generally distinguish between tasks that fall under management and those that fall under leadership. While management includes the controlling of tasks, resources and teams, the term leadership entails more interpersonal issues such as, how do I pass on feedback as a leader? How do I communicate with my employees? How do I include them in my decisions? The enormous influence these “soft factors”, as we call them, can have on aspects such as worker satisfaction, motivation and turnover have been underestimated for too long. Now, perceptions are changing and for some years we have been experiencing a trend towards less management and more leadership. As a result, the role of the leader as a coach and guide comes to the fore, which is now even being actively demanded by many employees, especially in the younger generations. Management will remain a job, whereas leadership will become an art in itself.

In my opinion, the main task of a good leader is to support employees to grow beyond themselves and develop both personally and professionally. To do this, a leader must, among other things, also create the best working conditions for the employees and sense what they need to do their jobs in the best possible way. And, thinking ahead, they should work towards creating a team that is, at least to some extent, autonomous. Employees should therefore be empowered to make good decisions themselves, within their area of responsibility and in the interest of the team and the company.

4. Traditional office work as we know it is increasingly being replaced by virtual workforces. What opportunities and challenges do you see in this context with regard to leadership?

Above all, there is a lack of everyday office communication, the importance of which many a manager probably only became aware of during the pandemic. Here it’s important to reflect on: how have I been communicating with my team so far and how do I manage best under the new circumstances? This includes some very basic things like how can I develop my employees? How should I conduct annual appraisals? How do I make sure new employees get the best onboarding? Which tools do we need to collaborate? Leaders were forced to address these issues from one day to the next, which is of course a great challenge, but also enormously important in order to be able to implement hybrid working models in companies in a meaningful way in the future.

5. What makes Bechtle stand out as an employer for you personally?

I really appreciate the leeway I’m given when it comes to choosing my work environment and tasks. Generally speaking, there’s a lot of potential to take on more responsibility at Bechtle. You won’t have to look far to find it. Of course, always within certain boundaries, but if an idea is interesting and seems promising, we’ll try it out. Of course, not everything can work perfectly right away—but we learn from our mistakes. 😊

Thank you for the interview, Antonia!

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Published on Jun 18, 2021.