Leadership, (Cultural) Threats, and Change

Strong culture – weak culture

A strong organizational culture helps leadership and motivation, but it risks to become too rigid and inflexible. A leader needs to balance the inflexibility of a strong organizational culture with resistance to change from a too weak organizational culture.

Creating the need for change

A leader is analyzing and realizing that there is an unsatisfactory situation, then creates and communicates the required sense of urgency.

Behavior change

Behavior change can be “coerced” but it may be ineffective for positive changes of attitudes, such as solidarity and accountability.

Unfreeze, change, refreeze

People generally don’t like to unfreeze their accustomed situation. To unfreeze and change, change agents should reassure, involve, empower, support, and celebrate change.

“Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue”  Dragonetti (1766)

Solidarity and accountability

Payments are not resolving the solidarity problem in a competitive and career dominated environment. Leadership based on self-awareness (e.g., servant leadership) creates a sense of increased meaning, belonging, and promotes accountability and self-leadership.

Resistance vs. apathy

Resistance might be preferable to apathy, as resistance can highlight genuine problems in proposals, and there is an energy that serves as a source of commitment from converted followers.

Cultural context

(Transformational) leadership needs to be fine-tuned according to cultural contexts, such as collectivism/individualism and power distance. For example, on an individual level: low power distance fosters higher emotional commitment to transformational leadership.

Material from the session on January 9th, 2019, 19:30 – 21:00 in Tokyo (at J-Global, Yaesu)

Course-2-Session-5-Leadership-Cultural-Threats-and-Change_v03-compressed

About mathias sager

Independent researcher, artist, social entrepreneur, and leadership and strategy advisor I was born in Zurich in 1975 and grew up in Switzerland. Currently, I’m living in Tokyo. I love open-minded people everywhere and the passion to working relentlessly for developing human potential, which is an overarching theme throughout all his work. I have extensive experience in leadership and management, organizational psychology research, and learning & development practice. I have worked as a teacher, a leadership trainer, as well as a senior manager responsible for client relationships, counseling, and virtual teams around the world. Also, I’m a social entrepreneur and serving as a strategy and leadership advisor in different ways. My goal is to inspire with interdisciplinary, innovative, and cross-cultural approaches to personal and professional development for the people’s individual well-being and common good alike. Continuously learning himself and keen to help, I appreciate any questions or feedback you may have at any time. Please connect here on any social media, as well as per direct email goodthings@mathias-sager.com.
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  • As with all things in life, flexibility and some degree of balance between the extremes is key, especially when dealing with imperfect human beings. Thanks for sharing this!

    • mathias sager says:

      Thanks a lot, Henry! I agree.
      On a different level, we could also frame it the way that (human) life could be perfect, but we see things dualistically as “good” or “bad.” Hence, compromises may arise from less judgment.
      All the best!

  • aprilgarner says:

    I like this: “Resistance might be preferable to apathy, as resistance can highlight genuine problems in proposals, and there is an energy that serves as a source of commitment from converted followers.” And I like your balanced approach. I’d never thought about the drawbacks of a strong culture — very interesting.

    • mathias sager says:

      Thank you very much for your kind feedback. I’m glad to hear about this ‘cultural awareness’ effect. As one continues to think about the influence of culture on one’s personality, things indeed become increasingly exciting:-). All the best!