Gus Lubin, executive editor of the Business Insider wrote an article about the fact that different cultures have radically different leadership styles. We are now inexorably connected to the global economy so it is helpful to have some idea how potential customers, clients or colleagues process through to agreement on various business matters. Lubin’s article is based on the research by British linguist Richard D. Lewis who charted these differences in his book “When Cultures Collide,” that was published in 1996.
Lewis acknowledges the risks of dealing in stereotypes because: “Determining national characteristics is treading a minefield of inaccurate assessment and surprising exception. There is, however, such a thing as a national norm.” He argues that these patterns won’t change any time soon.”
Lewis’ research is represented in 24 charts of leadership styles from his book, with a brief summary of his comments about each. After reading the original article displaying the charts, I found that, based on my own experience, three (3) of these leadership styles resonated with me.
Here they are:
- American managers are assertive, aggressive, goal and action oriented, confident, vigorous, optimistic, and ready for change. They are capable of teamwork and corporate spirit, but they value individual freedom and their first interest is furthering their own career.
- British managers are diplomatic, casual, helpful, willing to compromise, and seeking to be fair, though they can be ruthless when necessary. Unfortunately, their adherence to tradition can result in a failure to comprehend differing values in others.
- German managers strive to create a perfect system. There is a clear chain of command in each department and information and instructions are passed down from the top. Nonetheless, considerable value is placed on consensus.
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