Global Leadership: Fitting in, without giving in


Adapting your leadership style to a different cultural setting can be tough, especially when the new setting demands a style different from how you would normally and comfortably behave at home. So how do you adapt your leadership behavior across cultures without losing yourself in the process?

Great article: Source: di.dk

It is not always wise to follow the advice : “In Rome do like Romans do ” because you are not a Roman and therefore the expectations people have about you are conditioned by their own bias and stereotypes and what they think about your culture.

Global dexterity is the capacity to adapt your behavior, when necessary, in a foreign cultural environment to accommodate new and different expectations that vary from those of your native cultural setting.

Watch also the interview of Andy Molinsky, Author of “Global Dexterity” :https://hbr.org/video/2363497345001/reaching-across-cultures-without-losing-yourself

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

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 anecdotal 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 from different race, ethnicity, religion and gender with a minimum of misunderstandings. 

Related Articles:

You Are What You Speak: How Language Influences Behaviors


Montage of languages. Prototype header for the...

Montage of languages. Prototype header for the language portal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If our language shapes the way we think, it also impacts the way we behave.

In its presentation, Keith Chen ask the question: Could your language affect your ability to save money ? The author gives various examples on how same information is delivered very differently from one language to another. For example in English, the following sentences:  “it has rained”, “it is raining” or “it will rain” are translated in Chinese in only one sentence because the information about time in the verb is never mentioned.

He called  “futured languages,” those like English that  distinguish between the past, present and future, and “futureless languages,” those like Chinese that use the same phrasing to describe the events of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Chen found that huge economic differences accompany this linguistic discrepancy. Futureless language speakers are 30 percent more likely to report having saved in any given year than futured language speakers

Unlike English, many languages have a grammatical gender system. For example French, Spanish, Russian or German languages use genders for inanimate objects. Cross-linguistic differences in thought can be produced just by grammatical differences even when the person speaks English.

Different languages divide color space differently. Some colors like “Yellow and “Orange” for example don’t have different names in certain languages but it does not mean that people don’t see the differences. Unlike English, Russian makes a distinction between lighter blues (“goluboy”) and darker blues (“siniy”). These differences have a direct impact on the way meaning is attributed to colors.

Language, cultural rules, norms, personal experience etc., all influence the way we interpret what we see,hear or feel in a very complex manner. Words are interpreted as thoughts and thoughts trigger behaviors.

In doing business in different countries, global companies need to deliver messages to consumers or employees that can be interpreted in the right way. Corporate culture and employee training programs for example should be adapted to local culture and delivered in local language. For global executives and expatriates, intercultural training can be done in English but should be highly personalized and designed based on the culture and experience of the recipients. Looking at differences and similarities between languages can give many clues on what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviors.

 Related articles: 

What do Russians think about Americans?


At the highest levels, politicians and policymakers in the U.S. and Russia seem to hold very different opinions of each other, which can clearly be seen between the two top leaders of the world.

Source: hague6185.wordpress.com

I don’t think that majority of Russians hate the Americans but most Russians think Russia is superior to the United States in many fields Technology:  first man and woman ins space, Literature: Pushkin, Tolstoy or Art and music :The Bolshoi, Tchaikovsky etc.

Unlike many Americans, money is not always a strong motivator for Russians, but pride or face is and people come first !

I often look at history to understand today’s Russian’s logic. Russia has a very unique past with a long list of autocratic rulers from the Xth century. We have to understand that three cultures co-exist today: Traditional, Soviet and Modern, so it is very difficult to understand Russians as they have complex mindsets and conflicting images of the past. For example Sixty percent of Russians have incompatible images of Stalin in their heads: the cruel tyrant and the victor over fascism.

Russian people behavior and thinking mode really depend on the context .

In addition, although Russia is considered part of Eastern Europe or Central Asia due to its geographical location, the Russian mentality, especially the way of doing business, is very different from most European or Asian countries.

So in a sense, Americans and Russians seem to come from different planets as their cultural values are totally opposite:

Russia-USA:

  • Collectivism-Individualism
  • Emotional-Material
  • Irrationality-Predictable
  • Judgmental-Politically correct
  • High context -Low context communication

See on Scoop.itLife in Moscow From an Expat Perspective

Conflit en Ukraine : contexte historique (avec des pincettes) • NEW POINT de VIEW


Mini rétrospection factuelle de l’histoire russo-ukrainienne — regard neutre sur le pugilat entre les deux Ukraines non-arrangé “occidentalement”

See on Scoop.itLife in Moscow From an Expat Perspective

Cet article offre une bonne analyse en profondeur de la situation en Ukraine avec  a la fois une analyse précise des faits historiques a l’origine du conflit et une explication sur les valeurs culturelles Russes.

Les valeurs cultures Russes en particulier celles liées a l’argent, a leur façon d’être fiers d’endurer les pires situations ou leur patriotisme sont tellement différentes de l’occident que les sanctions Européennes et Américaines ne font que souder les Russes autours de leur leader même avec un rouble dévalué de 30 % et  une inflation galopante de  20 ou 25 % sur les produits alimentaires.

Source: www.newpointdeview.com

Viewing the Ukraine Crisis From Russia’s Perspective


James Joyce’s famous statement that “history is a nightmare” from which we should try to awake, aptly describes current events in the Ukraine.  All nations involved in these events are biased by the remembered, misremembered, forgotten, and mythologized history they carry in their heads.

Source: www.counterpunch.org

 “Our national memories have the passion and power to drive us blindly to hatreds and to war”

History is actually biased opinions based on popular stories that people believe as facts and do not challenge. Those stories are used to exacerbate our patriotism: “our stories” versus “the “enemy stories”. Stories are used in propaganda  to manipulate the public opinion toward a common goal : eliminating the “enemy” and to consolidate political power, financial interests etc.

For example, Hillary Clinton, on March 5, said that Putin’s concern for Russians in Ukraine is like Hitler’s concern for Germans in Poland and Czechoslovakia.

This is a very good example of manipulation:

Labeling Putin as “Hitler” is a sure way to activate a demon in the American national memory and to mobilize the United States to again fight the evil personified (just like Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Chavez, Allende or Gaddafi , to name a few of many leaders that have been called “Hitler” by American politicians)

Russians are looking at Ukraine as increasing the threat of being invaded. After the collapse of the USSR, many previous Soviet republics in Eastern Europe are now members of NATO with military bases. Ukraine and Belarus are actually the last soviet republics that are not EU members.

Each era of  Russian history has had its military super-power, and each super-power in turn attacked Russia: Turks, Poles, Swedes, French, Germans, British, and Japanese have each invaded Russia more than once.

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

5 Ways Your Brain Is Tricking You into Being Miserable


Everyone wants to be happy, but the biggest obstacle to that is the mushy thing inside your skull that you think with.

Source: www.cracked.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The brain is designed to put more weight on negative thoughts than on positive ones. This imbalance takes us away from experiencing positive emotions such as joy, gratitude or hope.

Having positive emotions helps us become relaxed, playful and learn new skills more easily.

However, it is important to have a certain amount of negative emotions to be able to be creative and resilient.

 

Related references:

Perception and Behavior: How To Stimulate Creativity

 Updated Thinking on Positivity Ratios Barbara L. Fredrickson

 

 

 

 

 

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Research on Well-being and Aging: Comparison between U.S. and Japan


We have only begun to look at the evidence, but it appears that different aspects of well-being matter for health in different ways depending on the cultural context where people reside

Source: blogs.plos.org

 

Well-being in the West is formulated more in terms of the individual and how he or she may feel about how they’re doing in life.

 

In the East, well-being is much more about the self embedded within social relationships; for example, how well you’re doing in meeting your obligations to others.

 

In the U.S., self-report tools ask people to report on their levels of positive and negative affect. Usually the two types of affect tend to be inversely correlated. Emotions are strongly related to people’s health in the U.S.: those with more positive and less negative affect report better health. This is true even when we look at more objective health criteria, like stress hormones, or other biological risk factors.

 

That is not true in Japan. Both affects tend to be more moderately reported. That is, there is no cultural prescription for feeling mostly positive emotion and not feeling much negative. In Japan there’s nothing wrong with feeling negative emotion; it’s not viewed as something amiss that possibly needs to be fixed in therapy

 

In the West, the core objective is to get people out of the experience of negative emotion – whether it’s anxiety or depression. The way that well-being tries to do that is to get patients to focus on their experiences of well-being by keeping daily diaries of positive experience.

 

In Japan therapy is designed to treat distressed or maladjusted people, but the focus is not on fixing emotions. In fact, they are viewed as beyond the person’s control. Emotions come and go and people do not control them. They may be positive or negative, and you can observe them, but it’s not worth your time to try to fix them. What you can fix is what you do. So the therapy tries to get people to shift into thinking not so much about how they feel, but what they are doing.

See on Scoop.itGreat Life Coaching

An expat child has many layers of influence – Your Expat Child


Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory This was mentioned in Rianne Cornelisse’s paper about how expat children adapt when returning home. What is the theory of Bronfenbrenner all about? In this model the child is the centre of its own system. The layers are built from the inside out. The first layer … Read More on expatchild.com

See on Scoop.itInternational Career

 

 

 

The Expat Child blog written by Carole Hallett Mobbs has great resources to rise children abroad and she is also a consultant for expats and their children

Here a selection about multilingualism:   http://expatchild.com/?s=raising+multilingual

 

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