A leader's tandem

Once you lead, you will also have to decide. This is not easy when situations are constantly changing and consequences are hard to assess. How do you form an opinion anyway?

Much is easier when you are two.

Leaders find themselves confronted with an almost endless stream of different decisions. These decisions are often emotionally charged (or distorted) in advance so that they are made as quickly as possible, because otherwise something would happen or even become impossible.

This (political) jostling makes many people reluctant to take on a leadership role: Almost always someone feels disadvantaged, always one seems to be late or is latently unsure whether one might have overlooked an important detail. This is no fun in the long run. What next?

Most people turn to a person they trust. This can be a colleague, a long-time employee, a friend in yoga or former fellow students. It is not uncommon for them to be life partners. These people are important for your mental hygiene, but you should not stress them too much:

  • You should not constantly visit people with whom you share a common, often friendly past. Otherwise they will feel exploited.
  • You should not share all information with people who work in the same company. You will hardly gain new perspectives.
  • The exchange with people in a “pub-like” environment bears the risk of indiscretions. Here too, caution is advised.

It is not easy to find people for an exchange and to form opinions. Therefore, I suggest that you consciously and purposefully look for a professional partner with whom you can connect as a tandem and be available to each other for questions and discussions.

Such tandem partners differ from the above-mentioned persons and relationships in that the exchange is central and can be used equally for both. There is agreement on this. No one has to do the other a favor or redeem such a favor. Thus the risk of emotional imbalance or a threat to the relationship is very minimal.

Tandem partners can, but do not have to, come from the same industry. Often it is an enormous enrichment to have access to a new wealth of experience. And the situation described above, in which leaders often find themselves, cannot be limited to one industry or company anyway. Meeting tandem partners are at eye level, because they probably experience their everyday life similarly.

Tandem partners create (each other) space for developing their own opinions and perspectives.

They accept that everyone keeps their own notebook in their own hands. In this respect, supposed differences hardly play a role: management experience, national or international activities, size of the company, number of employees in management, hierarchical position, etc.

You may now be asking yourself where you can find such tandem partners. In which networks should you be active? Before you start actively searching, you should ask yourself whether you are really looking for a tandem partner or rather a mentor who can help you accelerate your career (which would be quite legitimate). This question seems important to me. Because while tandem partners broaden your perspectives for making decisions (and promote your self-reflection), mentors are more likely to show you tips and tricks or to protect you from stumbling blocks (and strengthen your ability to adapt). The distinction between these two roles is important to ensure that you have the right conversations with the right partners. And to avoid (mutual) disappointments.


  • Create a table with four columns. In the first column you write possible tandem partners, in the third column the names of possible mentors. And in the free columns you write down where you are most likely to meet these people. Prepare yourself for meetings by formulating your motive for an exchange. The person you are meeting will think carefully about whether he or she should get involved with you.

  • If you don’t like this approach, take advantage of a digital and new opportunity: We have created an online community of leaders for leaders. There you have access to a wide variety of people who exchange ideas (anonymously), learn from each other and help each other. Here you can find your tandem partner. In this community nobody will sell you anything. Your openness will not be exploited. There is neither advertising nor are there any costs for you. We want you to be able to trust, find relevant people and help others with your wealth of experience. Altize provides peer advice on the spot. There is no more time for relationship building, you are no longer alone for upcoming decisions. On altize you will find suitable partners for a target-oriented exchange, for your own opinion. Around the clock.

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