Principles of Leadership at Axel Springer AG

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Principles of Leadership at Axel Springer AG

In 2008 leadership principles are introduced at Axel Springer. The principles shall give managers scope for action, providing transparency with regard to the demands and expectations of the leadership role.


Creativity, entrepreneurship, integrity. These three values form the foundation of the self-confidence of Axel Springer. They set the standards for our daily actions. We lead, by creating room for ideas, by setting goals and by shaping change. We want to continue to lead Axel Springer boldly to entrepreneurial success. The focus is on our employees, whom we develop, challenge and empower to take responsibility. In all we do, we consistently ensure compliance with justice and law as well as our corporate guidelines.


Be a role model of motivation and enthusiasm

We inspire and convince. We identify new opportunities and explain them. We are a role model of motivation and excellent performance. We only expect what we also deliver ourselves. We involve our employees, inspire change and encourage enjoyment at work.

Create room for ideas

We create room for new approaches. We support unconventional ideas and encourage independence in thought and action. We value ideas and creativity regardless of hierarchical levels and continually strive for improvement. We also acknowledge the value of creative performance, even if it cannot be exploited immediately.

Facilitate change

We consider change as positive and know that it offers opportunities. We actively shape change processes and use opportunities to test new ideas. Where necessary, we are ready to leave the familiar behind. We never stop learning. We are open to criticism, demand feedback and take it in a serious way. We accept constructive contradiction from our employees and are able to admit faults.


Take chances responsibly

We take decisions and represent them resolutely. We identify opportunities, carefully evaluate the risks involved and are also prepared to accept failures. We know our customers, the market and are on top of the latest developments – this is how we are leading our company to success.

Achieve results

We set ourselves and our employees motivating and transparent goals. We define clear priorities. We check and monitor results systematically. We celebrate successes together and analyse setbacks, without blaming anyone, in order to learn from them.

Think and act cross-functionally

We think and act across the boundaries of countries, sectors and brands as well as hierarchical levels. We first acknowledge the advantage for both parties in cross-functional co-operation. Beyond our desire to co-operate, we develop team spirit. In our decentralized entrepreneurial responsibility the overall well-being of the whole company is our focus.


Communicate and act respectfully

Respect and fairness characterize our leadership. We understand that recognition and respect are the basis of performance. We keep a regular dialog with our team as well as individual employees and are available for our staff at any time. We communicate decisions honestly and respectfully. We are loyal to the company as well as to our employees – throughout the hierarchy.

Develop and challenge employees

The development of our employees is an integral part of our leadership philosophy. We achieve this by trusting and empowering them with responsibility. The abilities of our employees determine our success as executives. We spend a substantial part of our time on their development. We look for fitting development opportunities for our employees, even if these lie outside our own area of responsibility. We make sure that the best join Axel Springer and stay with us. This means: We are looking for excellence and above all develop employees who are better than we are.

Respect justice and law

In all we do, we consistently ensure compliance with justice and law as well as our corporate guidelines. Namely the basis for both our daily work and our leadership are our corporate constitution, our values, the catalogue of social standards (International Social Policy) and the guidelines for safeguarding journalistic independence. We are firmly convinced that success can only be guaranteed in an environment of compliance with law and ethical standards.