Tag Archives: Leadership

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

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.

Is Empathy Bad For CEOs ? The Psychopath Advantage


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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:

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:

How Do You Develop Global Leaders ?


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In the article ‘Global Mindset Secrets of Superstar Expats” published  by Thunderbird School of Global Management, the authors argue that immersing executives in different cultures does not produce effective global leaders as they often fail to learn how to deal with the complexities of their work environment.

To lead is to be able to influence people who are not thinking and behaving like you. In my experience learning to lead across cultures is a mix of formal leadership development training aligned with corporate values and multiple international assignments in places with very different cultural values and dimensions (https://zestnzen.wordpress.com/tag/cultural-dimensions/ )

I challenge the concept of “‘global mindset” as it is often interpreted as an “ethnocentric” way of doing business aka “western”. You can have all the attributes listed in this article and fail to adapt your leadership style to one specific country. Applying participating leadership and asking employees to take initiatives doesn’t work well in Russia for example, while Americans appreciate leaders who grant autonomy and delegate authority to subordinates.

Successful leaders in developed economies are different from successful leaders in emerging economies.

In a Forbes’ article,  How Does Leadership Vary Across the Globe? results of a  study show that it is important to adapt leadership style to a specific culture and not try to apply  “Americanized” management principles. The skills set and competencies of leaders in different countries vary.

The Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness Research Project (GLOBE) is an international group of social scientists and management scholars who study cross-cultural leadership. According to GLOBE researchers, leader effectiveness is contextual, that is, it is embedded in the societal and organizational norms, values, and beliefs of the people being led. In other words, to be seen as effective, the time-tested adage continues to apply: “When in Rome do as the Romans do.”

To gauge leader effectiveness across cultures, GLOBE researchers empirically
established nine cultural dimensions (adapted from work of Hofstede) to capture the similarities
and/or differences in norms, values, beliefs –and practices—among societies. The cultural dimensions can be used in intercultural leadership training.

Related Articles: 

What is Bio Leadership ?


Not another change initiative? Some ideas on how change really works and implications for leaders. (See on www.slideshare.net )

Anne Egros‘s insight: Great presentation!

What’s new about leadership ?

No more top down approach. Leaders must deal with rapidly evolving times in the era of social networks, tribes, multiple locations, identities and cultural diversity.

Senior managers won’t overcome established routines and competing interests by giving lectures. More than ever, we are talking about revolution, no more quiet evolution and leaders must be part of the system, feel it and find links among smaller groups randomly distributed in the organization to get enough momentum for change.

Viral leaders think organizations are like a human body, they strategically  “infect” the network with suggestions via the right people. New ideas usually start from small groups of early adopters and then spread in the whole system when it is clear that new behaviors and new processes have meaning and benefits.

For me the next level of evolution of viral leadership is “bio leadership” using ideas as stem cells that have the potential to become any type of cell in the body. One of the main characteristics of stem cells is their ability to self-renew or multiply while maintaining the potential to develop into other types of cells. With stem cells, the body does not recognize them as “external objects” like viruses.

Bio leaders need to identify and enable agents of change, rule breakers and other creative people in various groups within the organization itself so immunity and resistance to change is minimized. Then those people can not only spread new ideas but also help develop highly personalized solutions for different types of challenges such as launching a new product in different countries and cultures.

See on www.slideshare.net

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