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How to benefit from blending international management styles

How to be a high quality Global Manager: a look at how international management styles differ and tips to bolster any management style.

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International management styles

It’s no surprise that international management styles differ. Obviously due to culture differences, each style is plagued with its own negative connotations. The American management style has been long regarded by our Eastern counterparts as too loose or informal and only focused on one facet of the employee. Conversely, many westerners have argued that the Chinese management style seems to coddle employees and strip them of autonomy.

I’ve heard complaints of African managers letting employees have days off at a time for family issues because family comes first – even at work. While in Poland, I had a VP of Finance show a picture of his 11 month old son during an important meeting with international clients. The most memorable of managers, was one in Germany who insisted that if a meeting occurred after 3pm, beer (in huge steins of course!) be served. Having worked in a myriad of countries, I believe the balance of both is optimal. But if pressed, I’d have to admit I find my Chinese management experience the most palatable.

One-sided Downfall

I recently read a great paper about the paradoxical nature of Chinese leadership and management in the workplace. The authors, both American, put forth that Chinese managers tend to be both “authoritarian and benevolent.” I disagree – but only to a certain extent. I find most non-American mangers to be this way: all business at work, but genuinely interested in you as a whole person. They ask about your family, want you to leave the office with enough energy to give yourself or your family, and help you grow as a person.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about American managers is they only care about a job well-done, but not about why you could or couldn’t accomplish certain tasks or even about you as a person in general. Initially, I was on Team USA! My philosophy was “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to work.” My place of employment was not where I sought personal affirmation or the only sense of accomplishment in my life. But having been managed by global mangers and having managed global teams, the one-sided management style is definitely outdated.

A 360-view

Today, diversity and globalization effect every workplace. As such, I find it necessary to train people to be good global managers. Global has less to do with location and more to do with mental orientation. Think about how many cross-cultural teams/groups the average American graduate student, employee or manager engages with in a given year. The future of management is here. Now is the time to take a lesson from international management styles. Over the years, I’ve noticed a few key differences that, when combined, could make someone a good global manager.

  • Your life outside of the office matters, and managers manage to that effect.
  • Projects and assignments are group driven, not necessarily deadline driven.
  • Personal development and growth are of utmost importance.
  • Employees general well-being is valued.
  • Managers take time to sharpen their interpersonal relationship skills.

This combination of viewing an employee inside and out is what I call the 360-view. There is something to be said of true teamwork at work that is fostered by a sense of concern for the employee’s entire well being. Some American companies and HR departments are even spending on “life balance” seminars and insurance options. It would seem that investing in employees in all facets of life would guarantee at the very least a motivated employee and at the very most your best asset!

Monica Moffitt, founder and Principal Cultural Consultant at Tianfen Consulting, Inc., has traveled the world and enjoys linguistics and all things culture. Having split her career between project management and business analytics, Monica merges logic, fluency in Chinese and creativity in her new role as cultural consultant. She received a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies/Chinese from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration (International Management and Marketing) from University of Texas at Dallas.

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Business News

How to apply to be on a Board of Directors

(BUSINESS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.

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What?
What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”

Why?
It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.

We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.

Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:

1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.

As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.

When?
NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).

The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.

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Business News

Average age of successful startup founders is 45, but stop stereotyping

(BUSINESS) Our culture glorifies (yet condemns?) startup founders as rich 20-somethings in hoodies, but some are a totally different type.

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There’s a common misconception that startups are riddled with semi-nerdy, 20-something white dudes who do nothing but sip Nitro Brews and walk around the open office showing off the hoodie they wore yesterday. It turns out that it’s extremely rare that startup offices resemble The Social Network.

However, the academic backdrop for the real social network story (AKA Harvard), produced statistics that will serve to put the aforementioned misconception to rest. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of people who founded the highest-growth startups is 45. Say what?! A full-fledged adult?!

In fact, aside from the age category of 60 and over, ages 29 and younger were the smallest group of founders that are responsible for heading the highest-growth startups. I guess you can accomplish a lot when you’re not riding around the office on a scooter all day.

The study also found that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed. The probability of extreme startup success rises with age, at least until the late 50s. It was found that work experience plays an important role.

Many will argue, “Well, what about someone like Steve Jobs?” You could easily argue right back that it took Jobs until the age of 52 to create Apple’s most profitable product – the iPhone.

The study continues to answer questions like, why do Venture Capitalist investors bet on young founders? This goes back to the misconception at the start, and there’s a notion that youth is the key for successful entrepreneurship. Wrong.

There is also the idea that younger entrepreneurs are likely working with less financial options, so it may be common for them to take something from a VC at a lower price. As a result, they could be viewed as more of a bargain than older founders.

“The next step for researchers is to explore what exactly explains the advantage of middle-aged founders,” writes Pierre Azoulay, et al. “For example, is it due to greater access to financial resources, deeper social networks, or certain forms of experience? In the meantime, it appears that advancing age is a powerful feature, not a bug, for starting the most successful firms.”

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Business News

Today’s sexual harassment issues require more modern training

(BUSINESS NEWS) It’s unfortunate that sexual harassment still exists in the modern-day, but we have easier access to resources to curb this behavior.

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What do you think about the #MeToo movement? Some people erroneously believe that #MeToo is about getting men fired or bringing down powerful men. #MeToo is more about raising awareness of the long-standing problem of sexual violence and harassment, not only in the workplace but in everyday situations.

Thanks to #MeToo, state and federal laws are changing to address the systemic problems. Keeping up with regulations around sexual harassment in the workplace doesn’t have to be an issue. EasyLLama makes it easy for your business to stay compliant with modern training for your team.

What is EasyLlama?

EasyLlama is a company based in San Francisco. It has a goal “to give companies the tools to reinforce their values, and to empower them to create a safe and comfortable work environment for everyone.” The company bills itself as the “smart way to train your team on sexual harassment.”

The training was created by HR experts that go beyond state and federal requirements to make your workplace safe from sexual misconduct and harassment. It’s been designed to speak to every generation on your team, from Baby Boomers to millennials.

It features 5 to 10-minute micro-sessions with real-life relatable videos that can be watched individually or in a team session. Tracking individual progress is easy through the platform. Employees get email/text reminders to take the next steps in their training. Training is available in both English and Spanish. It’s designed for the modern and mobile workforce. The system can also integrate with HR tools that reduces time spent on data entry and follow up.

Empower your team with resources to prevent sexual harassment

#MeToo isn’t going to go away. The movement is reframing the discussion about sexual misconduct, gender and power. EasyLlama is one tool that can help your team be more aware of behavior that puts your business at risk.

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