Category Archives: Executive Coaching

Intercultural Communication at Work


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

In this globalised world, communicating in intercultural contexts is not as easy as it may seem…

Anne Egros‘s insight:

When you don’t understand someone’s behavior in intercultural context, ask questions, don’t guess through your own perception.

Be aware of your own cultural bias is a good start then listen to other people and notice similarities or differences on how messages are perceived and understood by making sure there is no misinterpretation either in words, voice tone or body language.

Good demonstration at the end of this article using Anglo-Dutch Translation Guide.

See on www.spaces.nl

 

Understanding Russia Today


Article: Destination Profile: Russia

Mobility magazine, December 2011, Sean Dubberke, director, intercultural programs for RW3 CultureWizard, New York, NY

Anne Egros‘s insight:

There are very few good and accurate articles about dealing and doing business with Russians in the 21st century and this article is one of them. However, it was written in 2011 before the reelection of president Vladimir Putin which has a great impact on the way Russia is perceived outside Russia via its leader.

With the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games I have seen a lot of misunderstandings about Russia and was surprised by some strong negative comments about Russians in general but most critics were specifically targeted to Mr Putin’s politics. If some media are clearly unfair, it is true that Russia is ranked as one of the most difficult countries to do business with although there is a clear improvement, jumping from #123 in 2011 to #92 in 2014 out of 189 economies according to Doing Business 2014 data for the Russian Federation.

I would not say that working with Russians is easy but  I really enjoy the dynamism and enthusiasm of most business people I meet in Moscow, especially women entrepreneurs, that can largely compensate the challenges of dealing with intercultural differences.

See on www.worldwideerc.org

Related articles:

Russia, is among the 10% of the most power distant societies in the world. The huge discrepancy between the less and the more powerful people leads to a great importance of status symbols.

Behaviour has to reflect and represent the status roles in all areas of business interactions: be it visits, negotiations or cooperation; the approach should be top-down and provide clear mandates for any task.

If Russians plan to go out with their friends they would literally say “We with friends” instead of “I and my friends”, 

Family, friends and not seldom the neighborhood are extremely important to get along with everyday life’s challenges.

Relationships are crucial in obtaining information, getting introduced or successful negotiations. They need to be personal, authentic and trustful before one can focus on tasks and build on a careful to the recipient, rather implicit communication style.

Dominant behaviour might be accepted when it comes from the boss, but is not appreciated among peers.

Russians feel very much threatened by ambiguous situations, as well as they have established one of the most complex bureaucracies in the world

As long as Russians interact with people considered to be strangers they appear very formal and distant. At the same time formality is used as a sign of respect.

Read more on how to interpret Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimension model  and compare with other countries :

 

Find the Coaching in Criticism


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Image from Forbes Magazine: The Best Gift Leaders Can Give: Honest Feedback

Read original article “Find the Coaching in Criticism” from by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone HBR Magazine, March 2014

Anne Egros‘s insight:

Learnings from the article:

What makes receiving feedback so hard? The process strikes at the tension between two core human needs—the need to learn and grow, and the need to be accepted just the way you are. As a result, even a seemingly benign suggestion can leave you feeling angry, anxious, badly treated, or profoundly threatened. A hedge such as “Don’t take this personally” does nothing to soften the blow.

The skills needed to receive feedback well are distinct and learnable. They include being able to identify and manage the emotions triggered by the feedback and extract value from criticism even when it’s poorly delivered.

Six Steps to Becoming a Better Receiver

1. Know your tendencies

2. Disentangle the “what” from the “who”

3. Sort toward coaching

4. Unpack the feedback

5. Ask for just one thing

6. Engage in small experiments

After you’ve worked to solicit and understand feedback, it may still be hard to discern which bits of advice will help you and which ones won’t. We suggest designing small experiments to find out. Even though you may doubt that a suggestion will be useful, if the downside risk is small and the upside potential is large, it’s worth a try.

See on hbr.org

Related article:

The Best Gift Leaders Can Give: Honest Feedback

 

Social Media Usage Across Cultures


Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach:

Since this post was published in 2010, the worldwide map of social media has changed dramatically.

For example in Brazil Facebook has replaced Orkut and in Russia, the number of social media users is growing at a very fast pace, mostly on their own local sites Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki.

World Map of Social Networks | Vincos Blog | Global Leaders | Scoop.it

Read more :

→World Map of Social Networks : http://sco.lt/5wsYJl

→ 4 Fascinating Facts on the Social Media Landscape in Russia http://sco.lt/5Bq5bd

-> China: 600 Million Social Media Users. China’s Web in 2013, http://sco.lt/8rPz8r

Originally posted on Anne Egros, Intercultural Executive Coach:


With the globalization we have seen an increase of usage of social media everywhere.

According to Nielsen research(January 2010), global consumers spent more than five and half hours per month on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82% increase from the same time last year.

However there are great differences on how people use social media  in different countries. For example Brazilians are the top social media users worldwide according to anotherglobal survey byNielsen(June 2010). People in Brazil communicate mainly  in Portuguese. The social network made by Google,Orkut,has been adopted by 50% of Brazilians internet users but is not very popular in the United States.

For global marketers and people who want to develop both local and international networks,  it is important to determine  how people from different countries interact with social media.

There are five  main driving…

View original 836 more words

The “How Are You?” Culture Clash: Americans v.s. Russians


How Are You ?

The answer Americans give, of course is, “Fine.”

But when Russians hear this they think one of two things: (1) you’ve been granted a heavenly reprieve from the wearisome grind that all but defines the human condition and as a result are experiencing a rare and sublime moment of fineness or (2) you are lying”.

True for French people too, they don’t always understand that “how are you?” is not a question, just another way to say “hi” in the United States

Read more on : The ‘How Are You?’ Culture ClashBy ALINA SIMONEJAN. 19, 2014

 

Beware the Very Real Effect of Negative Social Connections


See on Scoop.itEducation For The Future

There’s a growing body of evidence supporting the idea that your friends’ friends wield tremendous power over you without you even knowing it.

Social networks are the groups of real friends that we all share and interact with.

Anne Egros‘s insight:

“Birds of a feather really DO flock together”

In the article, the negative effect of social networks is shown with obese people who tend to connect with other fat people on many levels of connection.

Emotions are the tools people use to connect with social network friends usually faster than in the real world where people tend to be more inhibited to expose themselves in person.

The phone works two ways though and the positive effects of your online friends may outweigh the negative impacts.

For example you can join people who have common goals and interests such as losing weight, staying fit and healthy, aging, raising kids or living abroad etc. Social networks can sometimes help you get extra motivated and less isolated.

What do you think ?

See on networkedblogs.com

American Culture: “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays ?


santa

A recent Pew survey, shows that while nine in 10 Americans take part in the holiday that theologically commemorates the birth of Jesus, only about half actually see it as a religious celebration.

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Pew found that religious and non-religious Americans largely celebrate the holiday the same. Though those who believe in Christmas as a religious holiday and those believe in the virgin birth are much more likely to go to church services for Christmas, both cultural and religious observers were just as likely to gather with family, exchange gifts and take part in the tradition of Santa Claus visiting their homes at night.

In addition, nearly 50 % of Americans say stores and businesses should greet customers with “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas” out of respect for people of different faiths, according to a poll released in December 2013.

How about in Your Culture,

How do you greet people for the holiday season ?

Is Empathy Bad For CEOs ? The Psychopath Advantage


jack-nicholson-the-shining-1

When I read this article, questioning the value of empathy for good leadership, I thought it was good food for thought as it is challenging the status quo. Nowadays it is almost considered blasphemy to dismiss empathy and other “people skills” as good CEOs’ personality traits

According to Brad Stone, a journalist and author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon Amazon is very prosperous despite the fact that its CEO, Jeff Bezos, lacks empathy and as a result, treats workers as expendable resources without taking into account their contributions.

It seems that some successful CEOs not only have no empathy but sometimes have many traits shared by psychopaths according to a Forbes’ article focused on the research of British journalist Jon Ronson Why (some) psychopaths make great CEOs

Psychopaths lack the things that make you human: empathy, remorse, loving kindness. According to Ronson, the incidence of psychopathy among CEOs is four times what it is in the general population.

study, conducted by the New York psychologist Paul Babiak, suggests that psychopaths are actually poor managerial performers but are adept at climbing the corporate ladder because they can cover up their weaknesses by subtly charming superiors and subordinates. This makes it almost impossible to distinguish between a genuinely talented team leader and a psychopath, Babiak said.

Where greed is considered good and profit-making is the most important value, psychopaths can thrive. (Quote from TIME.Com)

Regarding lack of empathy as a weakness, the argument seems logic when there is job scarcity during an economic crisis and when the CEO’s main job is to do massive layoffs and cut expenses to maximize shareholder value. 

But how about companies that need to innovate to strive, don’t they need collaborative leadership and therefore need bosses who have empathy ?

Considering Steve Jobs or Jack Welch, known for not being especially empathetic,  it seems that empathy is not mandatory to be a successful CEO even in innovation-driven companies.

In conclusion, I think empathy may not be necessary only when leaders have to manage-up with little interactions with people who do the jobs dealing with customers on a daily basis, especially when the impact of the employees cannot be seen immediately on the bottom line. I do think that disengaged and threatened employees cost more in the long run even without considering lawsuits.

What Is your Experience ?

How Did You Manage A Boss Who Lacked Empathy ?

Related articles:

Bilingualism and biculturalism are related, but they are not the same thing.


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Anne Egros‘s insight:

A very much-needed explanation on the distinction of bilingualism and biculturalism.

For example, too often managers are chosen for their abilities to speak the local language but someone can have a better cultural sensitivity and be  more successful without speaking the local language.

Here more about empirical evidences that languages can shape behaviours but cannot make you multicultural :

Related articles:

See on bilingualkidsrock.com

Is Humility A Universal Leadership Value Across Cultures ?


isaac-newton-new (1)

Humility in leadership can be defined as the ability to understand yourself and bring the best from other people. You must first know your talents and limitations, then recognize that you have to rely on others and empower them to discover their own strengths and manage their weak points to focus on achieving a common goal.

Global leaders and managers working in multicultural teams must manage conflicts, poor communication and lack of teamwork as a result of misunderstandings and wrong assumptions from people driven by different internal core values and beliefs.

What we know, from the work of Professor Geert Hofstede on dimensions of national culture is that some countries have high power distance such as Russia that scores 93 on a scale of 1-100 and others have a low power distance dimension like United States that scores 40.

What it means, is that in Russia the power is distributed unequally and highly centralized with 80% of the financial potential concentrated in Moscow. It also means that in high distance countries people believe that power and authority are facts of life and inequality is institutionalized. Leaders are therefore expected to have a top-down approach to solve conflicts and take important decisions. Subordinates will simply comply with their leader.

For doing business In Russia, you must understand that hierarchy and status are important and that Russians respect age, rank and position as well as technological expertise. Russians see negotiations as win-lose and compromise as weakness.

On the other hand, in lower power distance countries such as the United States, there is a preference for consultation and collaborative leadership. Subordinates are encouraged to be independent  and contribute to problem solving. In the United States. business communication is informal and based on a win-win negotiation style.

If you are coming from the U.S. or another low power distance country when you have to deal with high power distance countries like Russia, you need to take your time  to understand who has the power of making decisions, otherwise nothing is going to happen especially when dealing with the administration and its very complex bureaucracy. For Americans, “time is money” but trying to force Russians to take quick decisions will only delay the processes and decrease trust.

So in a sense, humility in business negotiation is highly valued by Russians in general as humble business leaders have patience, try to understand first  and at the same time are strong enough to deal with conflicts without showing any sign of arrogance or superiority.

Most of the studies on humility as a value in leadership have been conducted in the United States and therefore it is difficult to separate the empirical and anecdotic from the real science-based evidences.

Leadership is a question of character (integrity, confidence, curiosity), not temperament (biology and genetics), therefore it is possible for global leaders and expatriated managers to learn cultural differences and the benefits of humility, holding judgment and avoiding placing one culture above another.

The role of effective intercultural leaders is to shape the corporate and local cultures of their organization to be understood and embraced by individuals of all races, ethnicities, religions, and genders with a minimum of misunderstandings. 

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