Intercultural Business Leadership Conference
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There are several aspects to business leadership nowadays. In France, I would say, the culture in the organization has been developed; so, that the less powerful members of an organization expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Hofstede in his studies of culture in the organization names it as a Power Difference.
Here are the characteristics of the Power Difference described by G. Hofstede:
• Frequency of employees being afraid to express disagreement with their managers.
• Subordinates' perception of their boss's actual decision making style(paternalistic style was one choice)
• Subordinates' preference for their boss's decision making style (again, paternalistic style was one choice)
So basically, this is the way business leaders act like in France. Everything that has done wrong, despite of their own fault, is the fault of their subordinates.
In my opinion, this Power Difference should be radically changed. Since the employers have lost the ability to share the information with employees, in their order, to receive a feedback. Most of the employees, by the way are potential leaders, however, by not letting the employees to speak up and share their opinion, employers do not receive any valuable information from which they could gain some benefit for them.
I think, a good business leadership in the country should be developed and improved with the passing years. Business leaders should be recognized by the public, and not only by themselves. Good business leadership inside of the country is a big step out of the country on the international market.
The different managers agree on three bread-and-butter characteristics that all good leaders need: ability to handle crises, decisiveness, and ability to motivate others. None of them consideres being charismatic or inspirational as a critical component of leadership. There is one big difference, that the French leaders list as their political skills and network strength, that is crucial. This may reflect the fact that there is still an elite education in prestigious institutions such as the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, which has produced seven out of ten prime ministers of France.
The French were critical to British decision-making, regarding it as "shambolic, unreliable, and lacking of intellectual rigour". The French value clarity, certainty, precision, and order.
Relations between the United States and France are active and friendly. Mutual visits by high-level officials are conducted frequently. Bilateral contacts at the cabinet level have traditionally been active. France and the United States share common values and have similar policies on most political, economic, and security issues. Differences are discussed frankly and have not generally been allowed to impair the pattern of close cooperation that characterizes relations between the two countries.
However, what about the relationships between the Great Britain and France. I am afraid to say that they are not quite as friendly as the relationships with the US.
Along the history, France and Great Britain always had those battles and wars. Today, we can not say that Frenchmen and Englishmen like each other.
However, I strongly believe that the future generation will finally forget all the mistakes done in the past by their ancestors had done. Today, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on his way at least try to build somehow friendly relations with England. He encouraged England to forge closer relations and urged both countries to "overcome our long-standing rivalries and build together a future that will be stronger because we will be together".
He said: "If we want to change Europe my dear British friends - and we Frenchmen do wish to change Europe - we need you inside Europe to help us do so, not standing on the outside."
Emperor of the French, 1769 - 1821
Napoleon was one of the greatest military commanders in history. He has also been portrayed as a power hungry conqueror. Napoleon denied those accusations. He argued that he was building a federation of free peoples in a Europe united under a liberal government. But if this was his goal, he intended to achieve it by taking power in his own hands. However, in the states he created, Napoleon granted constitutions, introduced law codes, abolished feudalism, created efficient governments and fostered education, science, literature and the arts.
Emperor Napoleon proved to be an excellent civil administrator. One of his greatest achievements was his supervision of the revision and collection of French law into codes. The new law codes—seven in number—incorporated some of the freedoms gained by the people of France during the French revolution, including religious toleration and the abolition of serfdom. The most famous of the codes, the Code Napoleon or Code Civil, still forms the basis of French civil law. Napoleon also centralized France's government by appointing prefects to administer regions called departments, into which France was divided.
While Napoleon believed in government "for" the people, he rejected government "by" the people. His France was a police state with a vast network of secret police and spies. The police shut down plays containing any hint of disagreement or criticism of the government. The press was controlled by the state. It was impossible to express an opinion without Napoleon's approval.
AROUND TWO-THIRDS of workers say the most stressful aspect of their jobs is their immediate boss, their line manager (Hogan, 2006 ). While this will come as no surprise to most, this statistic suggests a massive number of unhappy working relationships. So, does this mean that leadership is failing on a massive scale? Well, not exactly...
A recent article published in American Psychologist beautifully explains why so many people experience their managers as piping hot geysers of stress (Vugt, Hogan & Kaiser, 2008). What emerges is that bosses aren't inherently bad people (mostly), but that the modern culture of work sets them up to fail. Here are the seven main reasons I've picked out from this article for why leaders fail:
1. Strict hierarchies.
Leaders are at the top of the chain and are assumed to have all the answers, so they make most of the decisions. In reality knowledge and expertise is spread across people in organisations. But it's the leaders who must be seen to lead and so followers get frustrated because their superior knowledge and expertise is frequently ignored. This leads to:
2. Poor decision-making.
Leaders often don't make any better decisions than followers, and frequently make worse ones. This is another consequence of strict hierarchies. Rather than setting up leaders to fail, Van Vugt et al. (2008) argue it's better to agree that leaders are not always the best people to make the decisions. Spreading the responsibility around, or using more participatory strategies for decision-making is often more effective. But this isn't the way things generally work, part of the problem is:
3. Huge pay differentials.
Followers often hate their leaders because of the huge difference in their salaries. It's hard to feel any sympathy for someone whose pay is stratospheric (average CEO pay is 179 times that of average workers). And, because more pay means more status, leaders can quickly come to believe they really deserve the God-like status their pay suggests, resulting in their thinking they have all the answers and that they have the right to treat their employees less than fairly. In the bosses' defence, though, there are:
4. Impossible standards for leaders.
Perhaps because of the huge pay and incredible demands, followers expect their leaders to be almost superhuman. The leadership literature identifies a whole range of personal qualities thought important for a good leader. These include integrity, persistence, humility, competence, decisiveness and being able to inspire the troops. While a leader may be high on one or two of these, they are unlikely to have the full set. Followers are almost bound to be disappointed by what is, after all, another fallible human who is just trying to:
5. Climb the greasy pole.
If the boss is nice to you, it's a bonus, because it's not required for them to get on in the organisation. Leaders are promoted by those higher than them, not those below them - so it's only necessary for bosses to impress their bosses. This is a recipe for disaffection amongst the followers. Talking of which, forget the psychology of leadership, what do we know about the:
6. Psychology of followership?
One of the best points Van Vugt et al. make is that although it's leadership that has been most extensively studied and discussed, most of us end up as followers. So really the psychology of followership is more important than leadership. What is it that makes us follow someone else? And, more subversively: do we need leaders? For example, some research shows that when people know what they're doing, they resent having leadership imposed on them. Generally, though, there's little known about followership, and how to avoid:
As a result of the strict hierarchies, huge pay differentials, poor decision-making, greasy-pole climbing and feeling powerless to change huge bureaucracies, followers naturally develop feelings of alienation, and alienation kills motivation and productivity, along with any hope of job satisfaction.
What does it take to be a great leader? You may think that leaders are born to lead. This is simply not true. If you don’t think you have what it takes, think again. While there may be some folks who are naturally blessed with this ability, you can develop the characteristics and skills necessary to develop into a strong leader.