A lot of the things that I will probably be writing about in the next months will have to do with leadership and management. But I feel the need here or there to start with some basics first.

In my opinion, Immanuel Kant, *1742 in Königsberg +1804 [1] and his ideas changed the history of Europe and those ideas will be valid forever.

His publication on Enlightenment [2] starts with the following paragraph:

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) “Have the courage to use your own understanding,” is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.

For my German readers, here’s the original paragraph [3]:

Aufklärung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbst verschuldeten Unmündigkeit. Unmündigkeit ist das Unvermögen, sich seines Verstandes ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Selbstverschuldet ist diese Unmündigkeit, wenn die Ursache derselben nicht am Mangel des Verstandes, sondern der Entschließung und des Mutes liegt, sich seiner ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Sapere aude! Habe Mut dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen! ist also der Wahlspruch der Aufklärung.”

Unfortunately I made the experience in my professional career that this courage to use one’s own experience, knowledge and intuition has become more and more unused.

So nowadays there are a lot of people writing about management styles, techniques, guidelines, frameworks, and so on. But at least half of them gets back to one simple insight: People are full of motivation, skills and experience – but we have to empower them to have the courage to use them. So these theories aren’t new – they go back to a large history of great people who already knew.

Literature / Further Reading
[1] Immanuel Kant @ Wikipedia

[2] English version of Kant’s text @ Columbia University
[3] German original version of Kant’s text @ Projekt Gutenberg