The Leipzig Leadership Model

Re-Thinking Leadership

Leadership has always been demanding. This holds particularly true in times of fundamental change, which we are experiencing nowadays. We are currently driven by globalization, digitalization and the ecological movement. Where do leaders find orientation in these fast-moving times to form critical and creative opinions on complex matters and topics which can contribute to the big picture? Questions on the ‘why’ and ‘whereto’, the ‘what’ and ‘how’ as well as the consistency of the respective answers to these questions are gaining a new value, particularly with regard to the latest generation of junior executives.

“With the new Leipzig Leadership Model, we would like to offer orientation in the sense of a compass. The model is not normative as it does not aim to prescribe the goals and values of good leadership. Instead, it provides notes on fundamental, not to be neglected dimensions of good leadership which initially lead rather to questions than to answers,” says Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart. The model places high emphasis on further development and has clearly-defined dimensions (the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’) which offer orientation to executives in rapidly changing environments.


The premise of the new Leipzig Leadership Model also includes a concept of the human being which is characterized by respect for the dignity of fellow human beings and their entitlement to freedom and participation. Moreover, leaders do not act independently in some sort of vacuum but always within the framework of an organization which is the overriding concern. Leadership in an organization occurs in the competitive environment created within the society, according to another core assumption of the Leipzig Leadership Model. And last but not least: Good leadership requires realistic expectations and supporting structures.

Compared to the previous HHL Management Model, which had a stronger systemic and integrative focus, the Leipzig Leadership Model focuses more on the individual and the innovativeness of the organization, placing the human being and the value contribution at the forefront. In times of rapid transition with frequently changing strategy, purpose-oriented entrepreneurial leadership creates both the necessary stability and flexibility. Responsible leadership which is committed to the big picture ensures the ‘license to operate’. In contrast to past leadership models, we now see the human being as very entrepreneurially-minded and innovation-oriented – not just integrated into an isolated process cycle but into a constantly radical and incremental innovation process. One reason for this is the fact that life cycles today overlap much more than in the past.


Purpose – Entrepreneurial Spirit – Responsibility – Effectiveness

The new Leipzig Leadership Model consists of the four dimensions of purpose, entrepreneurial spirit, responsibility and effectiveness.

Purpose emphasizes the end-means relation in leadership work, i.e. the question of the ‘why’, the goal and purpose of a task but also the legitimization of a business model, a company and finally of the entire foundation of the market order.

The key to sustainable development is the power of renewal of the individual, organization and society or, in short, the entrepreneurial spirit. With this dimension, the Leipzig Leadership Model underlines entrepreneurially-oriented innovative leadership.

Responsibility represents another fundamental dimension of good leadership which requires special attention as a condition restricting the pursuit of the respective purpose. A purpose which cannot be achieved in a responsible manner can therefore be no subject matter of good leadership.

Entrepreneurially-oriented and responsible leadership of businesses and other institutions faces the challenge that decisions and actions to achieve a contribution to the big picture must be carefully considered due to limited resources and the competitive conditions. The questions of what is the right way (effectiveness) and how a chosen path can be taken (efficiency) to achieve a predefined goal with limited means in a competitive environment. Therefore, effectiveness represents a core dimension of the Leipzig Leadership Model. It translates responsible entrepreneurial decisions into targeted strategies, structures and processes to achieve a competitive contribution to the big picture.

Opportunities and Tensions

The Leipzig Leadership Model motivates active reflection of the opportunities and fields of tension in the dimensions described above. “Recognizing and utilizing potential is a crucial precondition for value contributions and, ultimately, the company’s success. Consequently, good leadership also means recognizing potential in yourself, within the organization and in the social environment and exploit it in a targeted manner,” comments Prof. Dr. Pinkwart. Due to the highly complex reality, however, leaders must also face the challenges which arise when working to achieve a goal. This can be done by addressing the typical conflict fields of good leadership, i.e.

  • purpose and responsibility
  • responsibility and effectiveness
  • effectiveness and entrepreneurial spirit
  • entrepreneurial spirit and responsibility.

Model Development

HHL did not approach the important topic of Rethinking Leadership through the latest daily channels but pursued a systematic and sustainable dialog about the theory and practice with leaders from the economy, science and politics over the last five years. The school hosted and documented five major forums on the topic of ‘Rethinking Leadership’ welcoming over one hundred experts from science, the economy, media and politics. Chief executives and owner-managers from large DAX-listed companies and hidden champions talked about the latest leadership topics at HHL and discussed them with professors and students as part of the Leipzig Leadership Lecture series over the last couple of years. At the same time, research by HHL’s chairs and centers on key issues such as trust, change, sustainability and responsibility was pushed forward at the school.

This dialog is now being transferred by a core team of faculty members (Prof. Dr. Manfred Kirchgeorg, Prof. Dr. Timo Meynhardt, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Prof. Dr. Andreas Suchanek, Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch) in close collaboration with the faculty and the board of trustees into a consciously dynamic leadership model which is open to further development. In doing so, HHL is providing an opportunity to make this discourse available to the business practice, leadership research and instruction while continuing to promote it in its own academic programs and executive education.


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Book Publication

A first edition of a publication on the Leipzig Leadership Model was handed out to the participants of the HHL Forum 2016 at which the model was presented for the first time.

A revised and enlarged second edition was published in March 2017. The Leipzig Leadership Model is presented in German and English. The book price is EUR 34.90.

The printed book is available in the book trade. E-book versions are also available, e.g. as Kindle Edition, or in EPUB or PDF format at The price of the e-book is EUR 19.99.

Kirchgeorg, Manfred; Meynhardt, Timo; Pinkwart, Andreas; Suchanek, Andreas; Zülch, Henning:
Das Leipziger Führungsmodell: the Leipzig Leadership Model
2. revised and enlarged edition. Leipzig: HHL gGmbH, HHL Academic Press, 2017.
ISBN 978-3-9818509-2-5
ISBN 978-3-9818509-3-2 (EPUB)
ISBN 978-3-9818509-4-9 (PDF)

In February 2019, a revised 3rd edition of the Leipzig Leadership Model was published in German.
In October 2022, the authors presented an edited volume on the challenges to leadership in crises. The book “Führen in der Krise: Herausforderungen an das Leipziger Führungsmodell” is in German and will be available in the book trade in November 2022.


What does “purpose” actually mean? How do you recognize a good manager? Where am I myself? The discussion of the Leipzig Leadership Model (LLM) is an explicit part of HHL’s Welcome Weeks. In the workshop, all students get to know the ideas and concepts of the LLM approach right at the beginning of their studies at HHL and relate them to other models of leadership research. In addition to imparting knowledge, critical reflection and creative appropriation are important elements. This also includes, for example, setting the model “in scene” in short explanatory videos and applying it to practical cases in order to stimulate the development of an individual attitude in a holistic way (for sample videos please see below).

As the studies progress, all courses refer to it, so that the Leipzig Leadership Model serves as a compass for repeatedly establishing the everyday reference to concrete management work in different areas of knowledge. This also requires teachers to constantly work out anew the relevance of scientific knowledge for coping with complex leadership situations. The overall aim of this reorientation of teaching is to make the Leipzig Leadership Model an integral part of the discussion on “good leadership” at HHL.

Course Leipzig Leadership Model

The course provides both profound knowledge of the Leipzig Leadership Model (LLM) dimensions and an indebt discussion of the potentials and areas of tension implied. What is the model’s inherent (new) message against the background of previous schools of thought on leadership research and practice?  What is its meta-logic? Why does the LLM put so much emphasis on “value contribution” for the individual, organization and society? Students are also encouraged to self-reflect upon their personal leadership style, to develop a rich understanding of their individual leadership competencies and to build a compelling vision of their future leadership role. The overall aim is to equip students with an advanced level of up-to-date leadership knowledge while addressing the LLM’s guiding questions such as Why? (Purpose), What? (Effectiveness) and How? (Entrepreneurial Spirit). Students start to develop a reliable compass to navigate in rather uncertain contemporary business and workplace environments.

As part of the last LLM course, students got the opportunity to reflect on the Leipzig Leadership Model in a short video, written and produced by themselves. A jury consisting of members from all faculties involved in the development of the LLM awarded the best contributions. Enjoy the results (selection):

Leipzig Leadership Model 
(Philipp Radomski, Tim Rauch, Lukas Rohsiepe, Maximilian Rudolph, Daniel Kanaan)

What makes a good leader
(Thanh Nguyen, Luis Schaal, Frederick Schiffmann, Benedikt Tostmann)