Each culture has a perspective on what it means to be a good leader. Understand the different leadership styles that you may encounter, study respected leaders in other cultures, and he ready to adapt your leadership styles in different contexts.
How much power a leader has, and how it is used, varies between different cultures. In autonomy cultures, it is distributed widely – the hierarchy in organizations tends to be relatively flat. Decision-making is bottom-up and top-down and everyone can contribute ideas and opinions. In consensus and status cultures, power is concentrated in a few hands and there is a large gap between those who have power and those who do not. In these cultures, decision-making is top-down, although input may be gathered from employees who are lower down in the hierarchy.
The People Dimension of Leadership
In autonomy cultures, leaders often have technical expertise and an impersonal approach. They tend to focus on the task to be done and rely on processes and action plans. Relationships are more important to leaders in consensus and status cultures, because they believe these will help get the job done. Leaders in consensus cultures take advice from the wider group and offer guidance. In status cultures, leaders are often strong, charismatic figures who rely on a close group of advisors.
Points to Remember
1. You should aim to lead your team with vision.
2. Your team will be better focused if you provide it with a clear strategy.
3. Learn what influencing techniques will be most effective in a particular culture and keep this in mind when you form a strategy.
After taking into account the influence of power and relationships, research has identified four major leadership styles worldwide. The democratic leader provides a structure, consults widely, and empowers others. The collaborative leader becomes involved as a team player and negotiates shared solutions. The autocratic leader controls, and demands loyalty. The paternalistic leader is a parental figure, looking after the group’s interests.
To get the best out of people, find out about their expectations of leadership. Employees who are used to an autocratic or paternalistic style of leadership may get confused if you use a more democratic style. To them, you may appear to lack authority and confidence. Make sure that you can adapt while also appearing and feeling natural.