Leadership is a Cultural Norm.

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Different cultures can have radically different leadership styles, and todays leaders would do well to understand them. Our country is in the midst of a cultural war that has everything to do with leadership.

When I work with aspiring or current leaders, I always ask if they’ve ever studied the leadership styles in other countries. I’ve yet to get an affirmative response from anyone. My reason for asking is I feel strongly that to understand how leadership culture evolves, both individually and collectively, you have to have something to compare your leadership culture with.

Determining national characteristics today (as we see every day) is like trying to navigate a minefield of inaccurate, deceptive propaganda, biased media, and social media run amuck. There is, however, such a thing as a national norm.

Even in countries where political and economic change is currently rapid or sweeping, deeply rooted attitudes and beliefs will resist a sudden transformation of values. It happens with severe pressure by reformists, anti-country sub-cultures, and special interest groups with specific anti-cultural agendas. This describes very accurately what’s happening in our country today.

So, what is the national norm in our country? It can be described as structured individualism. If you drew a chart, it might look something like this:

However, if you drew a chart of the national norm, say in Russia, here’s what it might look like:

With just this one comparison, we have a better understanding about why there’s such animosity, mistrust, sabotage, propaganda, cybercrime, etc., between the two countries. The US culture (at least up till now) has provided a level of empowerment and entrepreneurship not possible in the leadership culture of Russia. They want the benefit of our culture in terms of our ideas and results, but not the cultural values that support it. The same can said be for China if you studied their leadership culture, as well.

Understanding these leadership nuances helps an individual identify the kind of leadership style they unconsciously lean into, while at the same time, helping them identify the style they prefer. This really makes a difference in forming the values, beliefs and habits one wants to either adjust or embed.

Weekly Leadership Insight

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Individual, elite leadership, equates to individual significance over a sustained period of time. When we lose our identity individually, we can’t be of much use or value to other relationships we associate with, personally and professionally. Imagine if Leaders around the world would focus more on improving their leadership culture, would we be better off?     
 
Action Step:
Take time this week to the culture of your leadership style. The key is to be honest with yourself so you can begin to improve in areas that will simply make you a better leader.    

Quote of the Week:
We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.

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