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The right jacket for everyone – what we can learn about leadership from the Red Cross

April 1, 2021

At the Alumni Talk on March 31, Alumnus Patrick Batka spoke about a socially very relevant topic: the work of the Red Cross, especially the leadership of volunteers.

Around 30 participants learned exciting things about the structure and working methods of the non profit organization (NPO). Batka also reported on his personal experiences as an operations officer and chief of staff and how fulfilling he finds his task in the service of humanity – the core value of the Red Cross.

Above all, the alumnus also emphasized the differences and parallels between an NPO and a company organized in the private sector.

For example, the demands on a manager are comparable: conducting staff interviews is just as much a part of it as recognizing their potential and quality assurance. But leadership at the Red Cross also means providing security and structure, conveying calm, contributing expert knowledge and, above all, one thing: empathy – not only for the people concerned, but also for the own staff. Batka emphasised that while authoritarian leadership is needed, situational leadership is also essential to get the best out of challenging situations for patients and staff.

The participants learned how elements from the work of the Red Cross can also be incorporated into private companies: Clear language, unambiguous orders, communication, responsibility for staff, conservation of resources and much more.

The alumnus concluded his rousing lecture with a particularly beautiful conclusion: No matter whether young, old, woman, man, no matter what skin color, what occupational group, whether unskilled worker or lawyer – in such a heterogeneous group as the Red Cross, everyone nevertheless pursues a common goal and everyone has individual skills that they can contribute to the organization. And that is exactly what we should remember: There is an enormous amount of potential lying dormant in every organization and if this is recognized and valued, something great can come out of it.