Category Archives: teamwork

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

 

Is Humility A Universal Leadership Value Across Cultures ?


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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. 

Related Articles:

What motivates us at work? 7 fascinating studies that give insights


Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach:

  • The less motivated an employee is, the more money he is asking !
  • If employees are not intrinsically motivated chances are very high that they are not creative as well. and won’t work hard enough as passionate people do.
  • Being passionate is coming from the inside-out. You can break somebody’s motivation very easily but it is very hard for leaders to inspire people to give happily the best of what they have to offer if they don’t want to and don’t have trust in the management.

The Three ‘E’s of Engagement: Engage, Empower, Enable:

Engage

leaders must provide a clear view of the company’s future, connect the company values with the individual life purpose, identify individual contribution to a higher level than self . Employees who feel good about themselves and think they belong to a team get the intrinsic motivation to deliver performance.

Empower

Let people decide how to set goals, how to get the expected results. Increase their personal power in making decisions at all level of the organizations. The leaders’ role is to coach and mentor individuals and teams to remove self-limiting beliefs, provide immediate feedbacks and develop strengths while minimizing the impact of weaknesses

Enable

Provide highly personalized support and enough resources. Lead teams based on matching personal communication, behavior and management styles of each team member. Provide talent development programs.

Related articles

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Dan-Ariely“When we think about how people work, the naïve intuition we have is that people are like rats in a maze,” says behavioral economist Dan Ariely in today’s talk, given at TEDxRiodelaPlata. “We really have this incredibly simplistic view of why people work and what the labor market looks like.”

[ted_talkteaser id=1706]When you look carefully at the way people work, he says, you find out there’s a lot more at play—and a lot more at stake—than money. In his talk, Ariely provides evidence that we are also driven by meaningful work, by others’ acknowledgement and by the amount of effort we’ve put in: the harder the task is, the prouder we are.

During the Industrial Revolution, Ariely points out, Adam Smith’s efficiency-oriented, assembly-line approach made sense. But it doesn’t work as well in today’s knowledge economy. Instead, Ariely upholds Karl Marx’s concept that we care much more about…

View original 1,168 more words

De Bono Six Thinking Hats Method Summary


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Quote from the book: “Six Thinking Hat can help you think better, make right decisions, explore new ideas. De Bono Unscrambles the thinking process”

Anne Egros‘s insight:

Excellent Method For Managing Brainstorming Group Sessions

See on www.slideshare.net

Are Sociability And Klout Scores Related To Innovation ?


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

In the past decade, the word “friend” became a verb, the word “like” became a noun, and “tweet” became more than a birdsong.

In the original article “Do You Hire For IQ Or Klout Score? I have extracted the following interesting questions related to the shift FROM a knowledge economy TO a social economy

-How do you currently evaluate and place prospective employees?

-Do you consider the social influence of new talent in your recruiting process?

-Do you have a process for evaluating which types of projects should be managed collaboratively (socially) versus individually?

-Where appropriate, how do you encourage and foster social networking across your organization?

-How do you encourage and foster external collaboration outside of your company and across sectors of industry?

-What incentives and performance management systems do you have in place to encourage “creative teaming” vs. “functional innovation”?

-What are you doing to help your leaders understand their role in transitioning from a knowledge economy to a social economy

Here my comments:

I think we should start by evaluating the skills and personality types needed for each function and working environment.

Being social is just one skill that alone can’t make someone  or an organization creative or foster innovation.

I think good analytical thinking and judgement is very much-needed in a social economy as we are totally overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge we can get for free from the internet.

Too often people forget the facts and favor sensationalism or sentimentalism, even journalists don’t check their sources they find on YouTube or other social networks.

This article does not convince me that we have enough proofs to conclude that being social and having a high Klout score is linked with creativity and innovation.

Are you ?

See more on www.fastcompany.com

Why White Men Can’t Lead ?


I have read an article “White Men Can’t Lead (everyone) from the  American Management Association  and I basically agree with the ideas:

  • Today’s leadership models, although they may differ from person to person and method to method, generally have a common bias toward Western or European-influenced ways of thinking.
  • We’re leading as if our companies are filled only with white men and, quite clearly, that’s no longer the case.
  • Contemporary leadership theories exclude the enormous contributions, potential learning, and valuable insights that come from leaders in diverse communities.
  • Multicultural leadership encourages an inclusive and adaptable style that cultivates the ability to bring out the best in our diverse workforce and to fashion a sense of community with people from many parts of the globe. (reference: www.techrepublic.com)

Although this article was written in 2007, nothing really changed. This “white men” leadership style is still highly prevalent in multinational western companies and how they manage their local affiliates.

In most headquarters in America and European countries, the “non-invented’ here syndrome makes management ignoring local consumer tastes and cultural values thinking that what works home works everywhere (ethnocentric management style).

Recently an article published in Forbes “ Sayonara Sony: How Industrial, MBA-Style Leadership Killed a Once Great Company. demonstrated that Sony, a market leader for 40 years with its strategy of innovating new markets, has now lost money for 4 year because they adopted the western industrial strategy based on volume and cost obsession.

After two years of study the Military Leadership Diversity Commission (in America) released its report in 2011 on efforts to create more diversity among the top military brass, in the article,  Are There Too Many White Guys Leading Our Military? , The report notes that 77 percent of active duty senior officers are white, 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women. Those numbers have to change in order for the military to reach its goals concluded the report.

In  previous post I introduced the concept of “Third Culture Teams” that has been used to describe  how to create  congruence of three cultures:

1-The Corporate culture: Company explicit and implicit rules and guidelines, leadership style, ethnocentric or diversity-centered, cultural traits of the country where the Headquarters are based

2-The local country culture: Language (verbal and non-verbal), religion, cultural values and  norms, communication style

3-Each individual team member’s own culture, values, beliefs, set of norms

The idea of third culture teams is based on the human need for belonging: People like to feel that they can relate to someone and those who share similar interests.

You can be a white man and a great global leader but you need to be a chameleon who is able to change its  color to reflect its environment. Effective multicultural team leader must create trust regardless of ethnicity or country of origin by actively listening to everybody’s ideas before making a decision concerning the introduction of a new product or service in a foreign market.

What skills Do You Think Are Most Important for Global Leaders ?

Increase performance through employee engagement


Read Increase performance through employee engagement via Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Employees who are engaged put their heart and soul into their job and have the energy and excitement to give more than is required of the job. Engaged employees are committed and loyal to the organization.Torben Rick

Related article: 

Can ‘Psychological Time’ Catalyze Productivity and Employee Engagement?  on the secret to boosting productivity and improving employee engagement: psychological time.  “Time management tends to be about helping employees do things faster, or do fewer things,” Harvard Professor Michael Norton explained to Business Insider.

The group’s paper [PDF: "Giving Time Gives You Time" ] explains that the key to unlocking psychological time is to add tasks to employees’ schedules that require them to help other people.

The Titanic Failure, Technical or Leadership Flaws ?


On April 14, 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic collided with a massive iceberg and sank in less than three hours. At the time, more than 2200 passengers and crew were aboard the Titanic for her maiden voyage to the United States. Only 705 survived. According to the builders of the Titanic, even in the worst possible accident at sea, the ship should have stayed afloat for two to three days. Read more about the technical flaws that lead to the tragedy in this report: Causes and Effects of the Rapid Sinking of the Titanic 

For the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic disaster, I invite you to think about the leadership lessons we can learn from famous failures.

Here another interesting case:  On January 28, 1986 the challenger space shuttle exploded about 1 minute after launch killing all 7 astronauts on board. The shuttle exploded because two rubber O-rings leaked after losing their resiliency because the shuttle was launched on a very cold day (less than 0 Celsius). On the day before the launch the engineers who designed the rockets were opposed to launching the challenger because they were concerned that the rings would not seal at such cold temperatures but their advises were ignored by their management. This was to be the EXACT cause of the accident.

In both the Titanic and the Challenger cases, I think ultimately it was due to a lack of good leadership.

If you are a leader, then you are going to experience failure. Some failures are due to miss-judgement and turn into tragedies,  others will break your reputation as you become the News headlines or you will be responsible for the loss of billions of dollars because of your arrogance.

Are you aware of your leadership flaws ? Here the most fatal flaws described by the leadership development company Zenger and Folkman  in their book  “The Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders.” :

1. Inability to learn from mistakes

2. Lack of core interpersonal skills and competencies

3. Arrogance or lack of openness to new or different ideas

4. Lack of accountability

5. Lack of initiative

To help you in your reflection you will find in this documents famous “Failures” and causes. Great tool to use for  a team building exercise.

Invent Your Future Job: Be Unique, Be Social, Be Global


The fast-paced changes of our societies have affected all industries and is changing the nature of work for the next 10 to 15 years. There are three major challenges for the workforce of the future increasing pressures on organizations to become innovation centered, highly productive and a magnet for global talent :

1-Shifting demographic patterns: Over the next 10 years, the world population is expected to rise from the current 6.83 billion to approximately 7.7 billion, with most of the growth in emerging markets generating  high economic growth. We already see an aging and declining population in developed countries with slow economic growth.  U.S. and European businesses are dealing with the challenges of a multi-generational workforce with three distinct generations Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Employers will need to develop highly individualized solutions to accommodate the career needs of each generation. We will not see long careers of 10 or more years in one company but maybe 6 years with either functional or geographic changes every 2 years. The youngest  generation  will probably have 15 to 20 jobs during their career and multiple jobs at the same time because that is what they want to do.

2-Rapid technology changes: From nanotechnologies to neuroscience discoveries, many new technologies will be developed and globalization will continue to drive the utilization of advanced mobile technologies reshaping the workforce with increased telecommuting,  virtual  teams and overall more work flexibility.

3-Economic globalization  In our information overloaded global work environment, knowledge is not a competitive advantage anymore as it goes out of date extremely fast and anybody on earth with an internet connection has access to it in real-time. The critical skills to be successful in the new working environment are vision and  foresight.to anticipate or respond to change very quickly, make wise decisions and take action now to create a better future.

More than a year ago,  I had the chance to listen to Seth Godin “live” in a promotional event in Antwerp about the launch of his book “Linchpin”. I collected about 10 very interesting new ideas from his speech that I posted on a blog : “TOP 10 Seth Godin’s Quotes Made in Antwerp, Belgium. April 1, 2010”

Seth Godin is the bestselling author of more than seven books. He writes about marketing, the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect. His idea about our current economy is that the current recession is a “forever recession” because it’s the end of the industrial age, which also means The end of the average worker (Read more : article )

Nobody will ever be the only one on the market AND people have an infinite ways to access information. Humans evolved from Hunters, Farmers, Workers and now they have to be Artists-Seth Godin

HOW DO YOU BECOME UNIQUE  ?

1-You don’t need to become somebody you are not. Your uniqueness has to be authentic, you need to know who you really are, what is your dominant character, talent, personality, skills, strengths, what motivates you, what’s your passions in life ? How is your  business acumen and leadership style ? Can you summarize all those information in a compelling story for potential employers or clients?

2-You need to remove blocks that prevent you to excel at being truly you: fears, unmet needs, negative self-talk, lack of training and anything that is holding you back.

3-You need a vision, a purpose and a road map: No matter how old you are, how life has treated you in the past, how much money you have or how many debts, you need to give permission to yourself to have dreams, explore your possibilities and identify your options. We all have choices but we need to use our imagination to see them. You need to let your right brain expresses emotional intelligence and free the artist in you. Once you know where you want to be, then put your strategic thinking at work to identify your goals strategy and action plan to get you there.

BE SOCIAL, BE GLOBAL !

You can’t stop globalization even if you close borders and build walls made with bricks and mortars ! The internet, and social media make the world smaller and smaller everyday. Maybe your company is based in the U.S. but  vendors might be in India, and customers in more than 40 countries. That’s why multinational companies need employees able to think globally but communicate locally with cultural sensitivity. I like to use the term “glocalization” to instill the idea that global products and services need to be designed in the early stages of research and development with cultural sensitivity too.

You cannot claim to be a global leader if you have visited many countries as a tourist. It is like learning swimming in a book, you need to get into the water and get wet .

If you are still in college, learn key languages maybe Mandarin, Spanish, Brazilian or Russian will be a good choice in today’s economy. Find an internship or a job abroad for minimum one year.

If you are already a manager employed in a multinational companies, become the first on the list to be picked-up for an international assignment by participating in global projects and working with multicultural teams.

Learning a new language should not depends on age, you don’t need to be fluent but it is important to understand how a language is structured to get some clues about cultural values and unspoken social rules or business etiquette. You can learn about the fundamental cultural dimensions from colleagues or local intercultural clubs and of course online through many specific forums and social media.

Continued learning in a large variety of topics every day will become mandatory.

Where do you see careers heading in 2012 and beyond ?

 Have you invented your future yet ?

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