Category Archives: Executive Coaching

What Does Interculturality Mean ?


 

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A number of studies on the development of intercultural skills and competences have shown that first-hand experience of ‘otherness’ and even sojourns in a foreign country are not sufficient conditions to foster interculturality.

Both study abroad and intercultural education literature state that, in addition to experience, intercultural learning needs reflection and analysis, and that immersion in a different culture does not in itself reduce stereotypical perceptions of otherness.

Interculturality does not mean comparing two or more countries, nor learning to adapt to a specific ‘national culture’.

Rather, the concept implies, for example:

  • Understanding how different types of identities (eg gender, age, racial, ethnic, national, geographical, historical, linguistic) impact on communication with others
  • Interpreting what people say about their culture as evidence of what they wish others to see about themselves, rather than as the ‘truth’ about a particular culture
  • Exploring the role of power in dominant discourses (media, political, institutional) and reflect on how these discourses affect the way we perceive people from other backgrounds.

Read Full article : Mobility is not a value in itself: intercultural education resources for mobile students – European Association for International Education

Related articles: 

 

 

The Chemistry of Positive Social Interactions In Leadership


 

 

 

 

 

Oxytocin has been described as the molecule of social connection associated with positive traits like trust, cooperation, and empathy.

Judith and Richard Glaser published an article in HBR on the results of a study that analyzed the hormonal response of positive and negative behaviors in managers. Source: blogs.hbr.org

Oxytocin is the hormone that we produce when we feel good during a conversation like positive feedback. Cortisol is the hormone of stress produced when we have fear of being criticized or rejected.

Cortisol stays much longer in the blood than oxytocin that is why we remember more negative comments than positive ones.

So the article suggests to be mindful of the behaviors that open us up, and those that close us down, in our relationships:

Behaviors that send positive messages:

  • Concern for others
  • Curiosity
  • Paint picture of mutual success
  • Open to difficult conversation

Behaviors that send negative messages:

  • Don’t trust others
  • Focus on convincing others
  • Pretend to be listening

Separately  I found other interesting studies showing that oxytocin levels increased in dog owners and their dogs after physical contact: Psychosocial and Psychophysiological Effects of Human-Animal Interactions: The Possible Role of Oxytocin

There is also evidences that oxytocin doesn’t make people more moral or immoral. It shifts people’s focus from themselves to their group or tribe . As a consequence, people may also exhibit more racism and intercultural or inter group clashes when those behaviors favor the group interests (Carsten de Dreu: Does the ‘love hormone’ foster racism? ).

“When you give preferential treatment to your in-group as ethnocentrism, you implicitly indirectly discriminate against people who do not belong to your in-group. And they feel that, they feel resentment, they may protest, so indirectly, it could be that oxytocin contributes to inter-group tensions” Carsten de Dreu

What oxytocin does is that once you see people as [belonging to your] in-group, you come to like them even more. Oxytocin doesn’t make you a racist; it makes you like and commit to your in-group.

Indulgence vs. Restraint – Do we need this 6th Dimension in Intercultural Training and Coaching ?


What insights does Hofstede’s 6th and least frequently discussed dimension on Indulgence vs. Restraint give us to help us to collaborate more effectively with people from other cultures? See on www.communicaid.com

I don’t think this is a valid dimension and would really like to see more validation.

For example, I don’t agree with the score differences between France and USA, France shown as medium indulgence and United States as very indulgent.

I don’t think United States is a more indulgent culture than France. In the USA there is no law that oblige employers to give paid holidays while in France by law people work only 35 hours/week but also have more than 5 weeks of paid holidays per year compared to 25 % of American workers that don’t take their vacation.

Paid maternity leave is also much more in France than in the US : six weeks before birth and up to 8 weeks after birth.

People don’t work on Sundays in France and you cannot do your shopping 24/7 as you do in USA, Japan or Russia (personally I think it is a wrong thing for the economy but majority of French people are against opening stores on Sundays to preserve the quality of family life)

Have you ever find this 6th dimension useful to explain some cultural differences or similarities ?

Related articles: 

American Culture: The Non Vacation Nation

Do You Work Too Hard ? Some Cultural Perspectives

 

 

Dealing with Difficult People: The Know-It-All


Got a know-it-all in your life who knows everything except, perhaps, how to act like a real human being? Read on for tips on how to deal.

According to the author of this article, Susan Davis, the Know It All (KIAs) are part of the most difficult people in the world to deal with, along with :

*The bullies

*The stealth destroyers

*The “yes” people

**The complainers

*The martyrs

There are KIAs everywhere but it is particularly annoying when this type of person is your boss, employee or co-worker.

So what can you do when you are engaged in a dead-end conversation with a KIA or worse with a clique of KIAs?

No matter what you say, those people will never be interested in your ideas if they don’t think like you. They usually use criticism, condescending or sarcastic tone and even try to intimidate you.

KIA people lack basic emotional intelligence and are self-defensive trying to exclude anybody who are not admiring their intelligence or agree with their truth or faith.

As much as possible  stay calm and relaxed not trying to argue at all. You will always lose if you try to battle with their ego. In addition, it is not good for your heart and well-being as you may feel frustrated and angry.

In case having a conversation is unavoidable, then ask the KIA person questions about their field of expertise  they will be more than happy to teach you something.

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Related Article : The 5 Signs of a Bad Leader

 

Do Facial Expressions Develop before Birth?


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Fetal facial development is essential not only for postnatal bonding between parents and child, but also theoretically for the study of the origins of affect. However, how such movements become coordinated is poorly understood. 4-D ultrasound visualisation allows an objective coding of fetal facial movements.

Anne Egros‘s insight:

 Interesting study analysing specific movements of facial muscles of fetuses in the womb thanks to 4D ultrasounds.

This research has shown that specific facial muscles movements could be linked to specific emotions helping babies communicate long before the language is developed.

More research should be done but we can maybe conclude that those fetal expressions become  unconscious facial micro-movements in adults triggered by emotions  and that there are universal across cultures

 

See on www.plosone.org

Related articles: 

Facial Expressions Of Emotion Across Cultures: Are They Innate or Learned ?

Your body language shapes who you are | Video on TED.com

Guide to Reading Microexpressions

 

Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Overview At a time when the global population of people ages 65 and older is expected to triple to 1.5 billion by mid-century, public opinion on whether the

Anne Egros‘s insight:

In the future, aging and slower rates of growth are expected to characterize the populations of all major regions in the world. Ranked by median age, Europe is currently the oldest region in the world and should retain that distinction in 2050. However, Latin America and Asia are projected to age the most rapidly through 2050. It is expected that the median age in Latin America, currently 10 years lower than the median age in North America, will match North America’s age level by 2050. Africa will continue to have the youngest population in the world.

See on www.pewglobal.org

Using a foreign language changes moral decisions


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Would you sacrifice one person to save five? Such moral choices could depend on whether you are using a foreign language or your native tongue. A new study from psychologists finds that people using a foreign language take a relatively utilitarian approach to moral dilemmas, making decisions based on assessments of what’s best for the common good.

Very interesting article that brings some questions on language and moral judgement.

For example, when you use a foreign language you reduce your emotional response impacting the way you make decisions.

 With less emotional involvement people have a tendency to use utilitarian approach.

  Decisions appear to be made differently when processed in a foreign language

See on www.sciencedaily.com

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

 

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