It is tempting to ask “Which one do I like most?” But actually, I like them all …
We wish to be intelligent to perform tasks such as reading, calculating, solving technical problems, create music, understand nature, be a good employee or entrepreneur, and so forth. These may all be important to fulfill social roles. And, social comparison is a strong happiness factor. People tend to be content if they do well compare to others. Because there are always others who do let us appear compare unfavorably, the choice of a limited circle of easy-to-compare others might be a comforting self-protection strategy. However, such avoiding behavior also prevents from connecting to broader and more diverse walks of life. The measurements of traditional intelligence quotients have only amplified competition unnecessarily. It’s not necessary to compare to others and derive satisfaction from relative high scores in intelligence tests in areas we even don’t feel drawn to naturally as these, in fact, are not of most fundamental relevance to a soul-inspired human life. It is unnecessary to feel judged as a human being by culturally and commercially defined concepts of intelligence. Social comparisons are causing a lot of discrimination, feelings of unworthiness, and related suffering. What makes people really joyful is their capacity for self-determination, which means to be in the driver seat, to function mentally well, and enjoy psychological well-being.
This article is about the fascinating science of mental schemas and worldviews and how they relate to a person’s meaning and well-being. You can try out the related self-reflection tool, an exciting psycho-philosophical adventure, at www.mathias-sager.com.
Globalization has caused people to travel and migrate, buy products across borders, and inform themselves through global media. This strongly influences people’s identity and their psychological construction of the world (Reese, Rosenmann, & McGarty, 2015). It’s also a person’s internal system of meaning-making, respectively worldview that determines the scope and quality of capacities like the empathy one experiences (Nelems, 2017). Worldviews also help to interpret the world meaningfully, which allows us to better handle suffering (Yang, Liu, Sullivan, & Pan, 2016). Consequently, any investigation on how worldviews influence meaning/understanding seeks to derive insights that are beneficial for the individual well-being and the common good alike.
Worldviews are arrangements of beliefs used to create meaning of one’s experience of reality (Koltko-Rivera, 2004). From a cognitive perspective, worldviews involve ‘thinking systems’ including intricate patterns of thoughts and beliefs that integrate as an interactive whole (Davis, & Stroink, 2016). Beliefs are mental constellations that stand for relationships between categories, which determine how one experiences the world (Chen, Fok, Bond, & Matsumoto, 2006). For example, social worldview schemas would represent an individual’s beliefs about the social world (Sibley, & Duckitt, 2009). To mentally build a worldview, the abilities to learn and imagine, all of which require reflection, are essential (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010). And humans do reflect on the continuum of time, a mental process that involves thinking about the past, present, and future (Vannucci, Peagatti, Chiorri, & Brugger, 2019).
The before-mentioned schematic concepts of beliefs can be called ‘meaning frameworks’ (Taves et al., 2018). Such a meaning framework is presented by Friedman (2018), who mentions two fundamental dimensions related to worldview, which are space and time. Neuroimaging research agrees that psychological orientation bases on the relationship between one’s behavior and the aspects of space, time, and people (Peer, Salomon, Goldberg, Blanke, & Arzy, 2015). Van Dijk and Withagen (2016) state that learning, specifically, meaning-making requires contextualization and a broadening of both the spatial and temporal scope of the individual.
Regarding the above-mentioned social dimension (Peer et al., 2015), the intra-personal, inter-personal, and extra-personal factors have been found to influence human perception, experience, and the capacity to manage life areas such as risks (Jayasuriya, Whittaker, Halim, & Matineau, 2012). Intra-personal means the thoughts and beliefs related to the individual herself (Jayasuriya et al., 2012). A definition of inter-personal comes from those thoughts and beliefs, which are related to personal interactions with others (Jayasuriya et al., 2012). Extra-personal can be defined as a social scope that goes beyond the direct interaction with others (Jayasuriya et al., 2012). Extra-personal beliefs are related to long-term interests such as social needs that surpass intra- and inter-personal benefits (Sternberg, Reznitskaya, & Jarvin, 2007). They can comprise social relationships beyond group memberships, i.e., being a member of the whole human species (Leary, Tipsord, & Tate, 2008).
Vannucci et al. (2019) mention that the temporal dimension of reflective thought is dependent on spatial context (i.e., including places close and far, the world, and the cosmos), but these researchers do not specifically focus the interpersonal, respectively social component of context. Similarly, Sullivan, Stewart, and Diefendorf (2015) see time and space as the critical variables for human cognition. Still, their model fails to consider the impact of the social dimension on perception too. To clarify the construction of worldviews, novel Socio-Temporal Mental Schema Analysis (STMSA) tool, on the other hand, is specifying ‘spatial’ as the ‘social’ attributes of the intra-, inter-, and extra-personal.
Nilsson (2014a) suggests that a person’s worldview, i.e., the schema through which the world is experienced, influences one’s well-being. Cloninger’s ‘unity of being’ represents a model of a coherent self-concept that consists of the self, others, and the world as a whole and has an impact on the degree of self-reliance, hope, the ability to cope, compassion, and cooperativeness (Garcia & Rosenberg, 2016). In that sense, the socio-temporal matrix (see Figure 1) researched, validated and developed as a framework to identify and visualize worldviews, can facilitate the exploration of similar possible psychological effects related to a person’s meaning-making and well-being through socio-temporal worldviews. Therefore, it is to understand individuals’ socio-temporal worldview ontology through introspective information gathering (Nilsson, 2014b).
Figure 1. The socio-temporal matrix of worldview schemas
The novel socio-temporal matrix is derived as described in the following and as visualized by Figure 1. On the x-axis of the model, there are three variables of the temporal dimension. More specifically, this horizontal axis partitions itself, in the order from left to right, into the ‘past,’ ‘present,’ and ‘future.’ The vertical y-axis of the matrix contains the three variables of the social dimension. Starting from the intersection with the horizontal axis, which represents time as explained, the first third of the vertical line (y-axis) shall be labeled ‘intra-’ that is short for ‘intra-personal. The next, middle part of the vertical axis becomes ‘inter-,‘which stands for the ‘inter-personal’ scope. The third and uppermost vertical section is the ‘extra-,‘ which signifies ‘extra-personal.’ Similar to a coordinate system, through these two tripartite grid lines, a matrix can be formed (see Figure 1). When using the vertical and horizontal axis’ labels in the same manner as the numerical coordinates of a map, or the letters and numbers of a chessboard, it is possible to identify and navigate the three times three – in total nine – fields of the matrix (see Figure 1).
The nine fields of the matrix will be used to inquire about socio-temporal mental schemas. An individual’s worldview schema is expected to consist of a specific set of matrix fields, depending on whether one’s belief system emphasizes certain socio-temporal mental states over others. For example, one may emphasize other-related extra-past (e.g., socio-cultural upbringing), behave in an inter-present, rather relationship-dominated way, while focusing, however, on a self-oriented intra-future. Such a socio-temporal mental worldview schema might link to specific meanings as, for example, a more independent (i.e., denoted by the intra-past instead of an inter- or extra-past) and other-oriented (i.e., depicted as the extra-future rather than an inter- or intra-future) cognitive socio-temporal worldview preference.
Socio-temporal schema constellations are expected to emerge from combinations of meaningful and often frequented social and temporal aspects within the socio-temporal matrix. The novel Socio-Temporal Mental Schemas Analysis (STMSA) tool investigates users’ worldviews based on their related schema constellations. The results can serve the users’ as a mental map to support the navigation of socio-temporal worldviews. As such, the matrix proves to be useful for self-reflection and fostering awareness about oneself and others.
Chen, S. X., Fok, H. K., Bond, M. H., & Matsumoto, D. (2006). Personality and beliefs about the world revisited: Expanding the nomological network of social axioms. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(2), 201–211
Davis, A. C., & Stroink, M. L. (2016). The Relationship between Systems Thinking and the New Ecological Paradigm. Systems Research & Behavioral Science, 33(4), 575–586.
Friedman, H. L. (2018). Transpersonal psychology as a heterodox approach to psychological science: Focus on the construct of self-expansiveness and its measure. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 6(1), 230–242.
Garcia, D., & Rosenberg, P. (2016). Out of Flatland: The Role of the Notion of a Worldview in the Science of Well-being.
Jayasuriya, R., Whittaker, M., Halim, G., & Matineau, T. (2012). Rural health workers and their work environment: the role of inter-personal factors on job satisfaction of nurses in rural Papua New Guinea. BMC Health Services Research, 12, 156.
Killingsworth, M. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2010). A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind. Science, 330(6006), 932
Koltko-Rivera, M. E. (2004). The Psychology of Worldviews. Review of General Psychology, 8(1), 3–58.
Leary, M. R., Tipsord, J. M., & Tate, E. B. (2008). Allo-inclusive identity: Incorporating the social and natural worlds into one’s sense of self. In H. A.Wayment & J. J.Bauer (Eds.), Transcending self-interest: Psychological explorations of the quiet ego (pp. 137–147). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 10.
Nelems, R. J. (2017). What Is This Thing Called Empathy? At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries, (92), 17–38.
Nilsson, A. (2014a). A non-reductive science of personality, character, and well-being must take the person’s worldview into account. Frontiers in Psychology.
Nilsson, A. (2014b). Personality psychology as the integrative study of traits and worldviews. New Ideas in Psychology, 18.
Peer, M., Salomon, R., Goldberg, I., Blanke, O., & Arzy, S. (2015). Brain system for mental orientation in space, time, and person. PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, 11072–11077.
Reese, G., Rosenmann, A., & McGarty, C. (2015). Globalisation and global concern: Developing a social psychology of human responses to global challenges. European Journal Of Social Psychology, 45(7), 799-805.
Sibley, C., & Duckitt, J. (2009). Big-Five Personality, Social Worldviews, and Ideological Attitudes: Further Tests of a Dual Process Cognitive-Motivational Model. Journal of Social Psychology, 149(5), 545–561.
Sternberg, R. J., Reznitskaya, A., & Jarvin, L. (2007). Teaching for Wisdom: What Matters Is Not Just What Students Know, but How They Use It. London Review of Education, 5(2), 143–158.
Taves, A., Asprem, E., Ihm, E. (2018). Psychology, meaning making, and the study of worldviews: Beyond religion and non-religion. (2018). Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, (3), 207.
Van Dijk, L., & Withagen, R. (2016). Temporalizing agency: Moving beyond on- and offline cognition. Theory And Psychology, 26(1), 5-26.
Vannucci, M., Pelagatti, C., Chiorri, C., & Brugger, P. (2019). Space–time interaction: visuo-spatial processing affects the temporal focus of mind wandering. Psychological Research, (4), 698.
Yang, Q., Liu, S., Sullivan, D., & Pan, S. (2016). Interpreting suffering from illness: The role of culture and repressive suffering construal. Social Science & Medicine, 160, 67–74.
Awareness Intelligence is a specific constellation of ‘awareness about awareness’ and represents the decoding of the socio-temporal structure of the human psyche. The tripartite lawfulness of the socio-temporal matrix of Awareness Intelligence provides for a mental reference system that empowers for spiritual exploration and practical application of meaning, enthusiasm and well-being, and bigger positive impacts for all.
1.Know that the brain has different chemical processes for addictive pleasure experiences (neurotransmitter is dopamine) versus more long-term, empathic, and self-sufficient happiness-related behavior (neurotransmitter is serotonin).
2.Reducedistractions, especially to avoid over-dependence (addiction) to technology and social networks that interrupt your attention and learning.
3.Increase for how long you are able to stay offline and/or exclusively focused for better learning results.
4.Train your brain through exercising, diet, sleep, and alternative learning strategies.
5.Recognize how your consciousness requires the joint operation of brain, body, and the world. Brain activities may be necessary, but not sufficient preconditions for human behavior.
6.Experiment with stretching your sense of time and thinking of cyclical time. The soul/spirit wants to expand. As the earth is not a plate where you can fall off the edges, time may not be a simple line with birth and life ‘abysses.’
7.Do not fear the future. The brain takes even distantly thought threats for real and causes already now suffering, anxiety, and depression.
8.Do not fear loss. If we are only our physical brain, we don’t need to fear any regrets or pain after death. If there is something more permanent than our brain, death isn’t an existential threat to fear either.
9.Useintuition, imagination, and intention to ‘real-life check’ what really counts in everything you learn: Is it meaningful, unlimited, and purposeful? If not, it’s not worth it.
10.Read to activate your brain, increase the working memory’s capacity, and expand attention span.
Although ‘meaning’ isn’t reducible to a state-like single factor , the meaning of a concept (i.e., work) is related to how an individual does experience the significance of a situation that causes related inferential intentions to behave in a certain way . While for many people the primary meaning of work lies in the earning of money for making a living, work provides also for values such as achievement, honor, and social relationships that determine how central the purpose of work is as compared to other life aspects like leisure, family, and community .
Economist and psychologist approach to work
The economist approach to work assumes a transactional exchange of time and effort for money. Non-financial job values have gotten limited attention by economists when examining work motivation and productivity. However, like for example, academics who have highest job security without the need to outperform, and who study beyond working hours without monetary incentives, are motivated by pure contribution to a subject, intellectual stimulation, and the satisfaction from a deliberate exchange of knowledge. Similarly, entrepreneurs enjoy the freedom of autonomous decision-making regardless of ‘pain’ put into it in the form of time and effort. Top talents have been found to prefer to work for social organizations rather than just for the best paying one .
Albeit the financialized political economy  ignores many aspects of work, such as its creative and interpersonal (social) value , the examples show that through psychological satisfaction, work can be a source of meaning beyond merely earning an income .
Cultural features of work meaning
Work creates culture, culture creates work
Culture as a guiding set of material, mental, and spiritual values that are based on a group’s experiences over time, creates meaning on how to behave and work  and, at the same time, its meaning itself is produced by work. Consequently, work should be considered a meaning-making construct of and within culture respectively as the producer and product of people’s mindset simultaneously . A culture, therefore, can be only as rich and meaningful as the work that produces it is itself.
In most Western cultures, there is today a less clear boundary between school and work life. In Japanese society though, there exists still a distinct point in time (usually beginning of April every year) that is marking the end of one’s student identity through entering the working world on full-time basis, which means to becoming a ‘shakaijin,’ i.e., a person of society/workforce . Companies use recruitment practices and regular personal assessment throughout an adult’s work life to socialize . Age-based reward and promotion systems also support this ongoing socialization process . More recently, the traditional path to adulthood and ‘companyism’ has become more diverse, and the increasing number of part-time workers and contractors is shaping a changing understanding of the transition to adulthood and work life, one that takes place rather through action than through the acquisition of the ‘shakaijin’ status .
Masculine breadwinner identity
Company respectively work-led socialization reinforces gender roles. The breadwinning role is a priority in masculine identity. After the earthquake in 2011, men’s concern in Fukushima was less related to health than to the loss of their economic situation . As in Japanese patriarchal culture, the father role is still primarily related to company job-related work, childcare duties are culturally assigned to solely to the female role (i.e., mother or grandmother), which provides a widespread potential for work-family conflicts. Shared family and work-related commitments, however, begin to be seen as essential to improve self-worthiness and a sense of meaningfulness in life . Men who don’t exhibit a regular full-time job are more likely to marry late. Also, males with non-standard jobs have the lowest chance of getting children, an effect that is prevalent in Japan, but not in the US, for example .
Given the importance of work as a provider of status, identity, and meaning, it is understandable that Japanese commit with a lot of grit to it . Over time, Japan’s values align more closely with global trends insofar as there is a great emphasis on the economic function of work as well . Will that be enough meaning to engage the next generations of employees as well? Research is showing that lack of meaning at work is reducing work volition and work-related well-being significantly .
Economy of dignity and respect
A further question is how much a collectivist society may be able to reduce the dependency on others and society overall because over-dependency on the meaning of work risks to hamper dignity. The individual capacity to understand and position oneself as a fully recognized societal participant is vital to the notion of dignity as sourced from within. It is to hope that companies and society, not only in Japan, help to create dignity by de-stigmatizing of traditional personhood markers such as employment type and gender roles . It’s maybe such a shift from status-focus to an action-focus orientation that also explains the changing meaning of ‘sonkei’ (Japanese for respect). Formal respect (e.g., towards age-based status) is increasingly recognized as a moral duty rather than an emotion built on genuine love and admiration .
Benefits from meaningful work
The benefit of employees perceiving their work as meaningful come as experiences of greater happiness, job satisfaction, team spirit, and commitment (; ), thus reducing turnover rates and long-term sickness absences. This is because of the positive emotional bondage to the workplace that is an end in itself; a characteristic also called intrinsic motivation . A greater sense of meaning in one’s work can be protective of burnout . Eudaimonia is a term describing the sort of well-being that comes from living an engaging, meaningful, and fulfilling life . Such a spirit at the workplace can be fostered by letting employees feel they contribute to something more significant in connection to a common connection and purpose .
Performance and physical health
Work meaning is also closely linked to better outcomes, such as increased income, quality of work, and job satisfaction . Finally, a sense of purpose and sense of socially embedded growth in and from work (i.e., eudaimonic, meaning-based well-being versus hedonic, pleasure-based job-satisfaction ) was found to be associated with positive health outcomes, for example, by the means of supporting one’s physical resistance against adversities like inflammation or viral infection . The Japanese type of stress-death, the so-called ‘karoushi’ (death from overwork) cannot be seen as a physiological phenomenon only. Rather death is caused by a vicious cycle of depressive feelings, and states of helplessness and unescapable despair combined with overwork .
Fostering meaning at work
A culture of mentorship and nostalgia
For a long time, job satisfaction research has been focused on an organizational perspective without sufficiently considering the role of the job on family, the standard of living, personal development, and on a worker’s larger worldview . It is crucial to understand better situational contexts in which meaning ensues. Researchers found that the highest levels of meaning arise during spiritual practices and work hours, especially when performing social job components such as talking to people. As a general pattern, meaning occurs most during states of increased awareness . An organizational listening climate may facilitate such an awareness , and acting as a self-reflective mentor might be a useful avenue of experiencing meaning at work . Indeed, studies among nursing practices from different countries (e.g., Canada, India, Ireland, Japan, and Korea) confirm that leaders and a culture of mentorship are important for fostering meaning of work for both mentors and the mentees . Also, the induction of nostalgia (i.e., remembering sentimental events from the past) can be used to meet employees longing for wistful affection to the past and may increase an employee’s perception of the meaningfulness of his/her organizational life and therefore the attachment to it .
The need for humanizing the economy
The hope that unfulfilling, unsatisfying, and even health and life-threatening mental stress at work will improve may be overshadowed by the continuing centrality of profit margins and efficiency in corporations. Neo-liberal development in Japan has shaken the traditions of secure long-term employment and a state responsible for citizens welfare. While the need for meaning at the workplace implies rather a humanization of the economy and society, capitalist marketization of everything is continuing. Corporate managers continue to exploit deregulated labor and capital and maintain insecurity and growing competition among workers. . While rhetoric is sometimes trying to convince otherwise, understandably in the light of how grim the reality reveals, capitalism’s ultimate sense is about capital rather than humanity. In case of conflict, business goals come before anything else. Regardless of how meaningful employees perceive their job, no CEO is considered unsuccessful when driving profits within legal constraints and without caring especially about humanistically meaningful jobs. It’s, therefore, as an example, a non-surprising and common observation that such managers only after their retirement turn to a more dedicated anthropological role of contributing to society.
Meaning determines moral and ethical intentions and behavior
It seems that people need to find answers from within because the treadmill of the pursuit of consumption, pleasure, and economic success from work won’t fulfill the potential of greater meaning at work in many cases, regardless of how comfortable or tough the circumstances. It is each and everyone’s responsibility to fill the void of meaning through their sacred awareness, philosophy, and artful approach to put it into practice. And it is critical that we help others to do so too. The meaning of work should be considered simultaneously from an individual, organizational, and societal perspective, considering its psychological function for everyone. Meaning is the basis on which intentions ensue and according actions follow . Consequently, claiming peaceful fulfillment in one’s work is an essential part of and prerequisite for moral and ethical behavior towards oneself and others alike.
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Whether in a few or many single sessions picked according to your interest, or be it by attending the whole certificate courses, you will learn, reflect upon, discuss and start to apply:
How to improve individual well-being, organizational performance, and social contribution for your private life and professional career
How to develop a personal (self-) leadership that combines multi-disciplinary, inter-generational, and cross-cultural knowledge better
The goals of the unique approach fostered in these meetups include lectures and discussions/group works that are intended to spark critical thinking, stimulate new ideas, and motivate for self-improvement. You’ll be inspired, encouraged, and enabled to lead your way for deeper experiences and bigger impacts.
October 10, 2018 – November 14, 2018 ‘The Psychology of Learning & Developing a Growth Mindset’ Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 19:00 – #01 1/6 The History and Philosophy of Learning (for Life) Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 19:00 – #02 2/6 Behaviorism, and Animal and Human Learning Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 19:00 – #03 3/6 Social Learning & Developing a Growth Mindset Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 19:00 – #04 4/6 Brain and Memory in Learning Wednesday, November 7, 2018, 19:00 – #05 5/6 Learning and Motivation Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 19:00 – #06 6/6 Learner Profiles and Strategies
November 21, 2018 – January 16, 2019 ‘Inspiring Others Across Cultures and (Self-)Leadership Psychology’ Wednesday, November 21, 2018 – #07 1/6 Leadership Philosophy Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – #08 2/6 Leaders and Followers & Leadership Strategies Wednesday, December 5, 2018 – #09 3/6 Personality and Leadership Styles Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – #10 4/6 Inspirational Leaders Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – #11 5/6 Leadership, (Cultural) Threats, and Change Wednesday, January 16, 2019 – #12 6/6 Leadership, Power, and Influence
January 23, 2018 – February 27, 2019 ‘Developing Human Capital, Cultural Agility, and Global Talent Management’ Wednesday, January 23, 2019 – #13 1/6 The Psychology of Talent, Competencies, and Appraisal Wednesday, January 30, 2019 – #14 2/6 Developing Human Capital: Success in Learning Wednesday, February 6, 2019 – #15 3/6 Mobility and Cultural Agility Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – #16 4/6 Global Mindset Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – #17 5/6 Global Talent Management Strategies Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – #18 6/6 Developing Cultural Empathy
Approach All the courses and sessions are presented in easy English and supported by Japanese keyword slides. The international and Japanese participants both are encouraged and helped in interacting in English as a second language. The sessions are interactive, engaging, and provide a safe environment to learn. The goal is to inspire you for increased self-efficacy, wherever the starting point. You will leave the discussion energized by meaningful knowledge and friendly contacts. Welcome and let’s learn for life!
Tickets Tickets are available for the six sessions, each 1.5 hours on Tuesday evening from 19:30 – 21:00 (door opening at 19:00) Prices include drinks and snacks – Single session: YPY 1,800 per ticket (paid at the entrance JPY 2,000) – The whole course of 6 sessions: JPY 9,000 (paid before the first session)
Certification 3 Certificates* in Personal Development for Individual Well-Being, Organizational Performance, and the Common Good across Cultures. – Certificate 1: Learning Master – Certificate 2: Master in Self-Leadership – Certificate 3: Global Mindset Mastery
If you attend each of the three certificate courses, the combined certificate is awarded: – Certificate of “Master in Learning, Self-Leadership, and Global Mindset”
As you know from past years, I have been researching, advising, and working with many successful global leaders. I have also read several hundred research papers and books on leadership from a managerial and psychological perspective.
I am very happy to announce that finally, I have converted key learnings into 1.5 hours online course on Udemy. I am glad to give this course for free for an additional 3 days to my social media connected friends. Those who are interested, please drop me a message and I am happy to share 150 USD course for free. Hope you like this little gift!
As you know from my blogging activities, I’m doing a lot of research, writing and projects related to leadership and personal development.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been working on my first online course and today it’s officially live on Udemy, the platform for high-quality on-demand online courses!
You can find a description of my course ‘Developing Leadership Skills: Leadership Personality, Motivation, and Creativity’ below as well as in this introductory/promotional video: https://youtu.be/TQQWZCn3R_A
I am very happy to announce that finally, I have converted key learnings into 1.5 hours online course on Udemy. I am glad to give this course for free for an additional 3 days to my social media connected friends. Those who are interested, please drop me a message and I am happy to share 150 USD course for free. Hope you like this little gift!
If you know of anyone else that’d be interested to learn developing leadership skills, I’d appreciate if you’d share this information with them too.
Thanks so much, and all the best!
The course ‘Developing Leadership Skills’ is a compelling summary of latest research and good practices that may well become your passport to explore new ways of effective leadership styles, increased levels of motivation, and untapped creativity.
Whether you are an HR practitioner, an aspiring or current leader, an executive coach, or a student, this logically structured course will help you in becoming personally and professionally more effective and efficient. You are offered practical tools for insight and understanding of your possible
roles in team situations,
conflict management style,
successful negotiation strategies,
better decision-making, as well as
unlocking of your innovation capacity.
The goal of this course is to make sure you will find answers to the questions that are relevant for personal growth and a thriving career. Compact, straightforward, and with numerous references to further information, the interdisciplinary, innovative, and cross-cultural knowledge and perspectives presented in the twelve short lectures will benefit your well-being and success as a dynamic leader and the common good alike.
Strength-based approaches to fostering “female” leadership styles
Humanitarian principles and global egalitarian mindset
The case for gender equality
Although women represent half of the population in education and global workforce at career start and mid-level management, men outnumber women in all sectors’ leadership positions. The role of female talents in future leadership is a critical challenge  for the growth of economies . A study among a big sample across 26 countries found that work-life balance, commitment, and turnover thoughts are related to perceived job autonomy that is, for women, mediated by present gender egalitarianism .
Prestige economies and cultural tightness
Prestige governs economies, causing countries with high expenditure in research and development to have comparatively fewer female members (e.g., Japan with 11.6% female researchers, and only 9.7% professors), while low-expenditure nations (e.g., the Philippines and Thailand employ female researchers beyond 45%) . To stay with the example of Japan, nations with similar challenges related to vocational stereotypes, job availability constraints, traditional bias and a collective mindset, even when not having as much government promotion of female employment as Japan, tend to have fewer women in corporate executive positions. Roibu and Roibu (2017) ascribe this to the strictness of how social and work rules are enforced . Indeed, cultural tightness, i.e., the fierceness of norms, contributes to explaining why some organizations in some countries are less successful in advocating women leadership than others . However, the finding of male domination in higher leadership positions seems to be more generally a phenomenon somewhat independent of nationality, culture, and even legislation for gender equality .
Functional literacy and inclusiveness
Fast technological change can negatively pronounce skill deterioration during work interruption, such as caused by maternity leave . Also, education needs to be carefully analyzed regarding whether it is suited to improve social inclusion or whether, in contrast, aggravates competitive exclusivity . For example, functional literacy programs shouldn’t be designed as a reading and writing capability only, but as emancipatory enablers that integrate reading, writing, and socio-economic and political understanding for democratic participation and the self-efficient creation of social networks and wealth .
Strength-based approaches to fostering “female” leadership styles
Some woman may be more sold on power-promising, rewarding, and recognizing careers  and learn how to play the neo-liberal corporate game. Many, on the other hand, do also keep a philanthropic attitude that might not be come to success in an economy that rewards competition . Leadership styles are evolving though, and the value of emotional intelligence is bringing female leaders, albeit slowly, into pole positions . Strength-based approaches to talent development can help also preserving gender-specific genuineness throughout personal careers .
Humanitarian principles and global “female” mindset
The human species can change its mindset, and a female leadership style based on humanitarian principles might be precisely the fit for an increasingly globalized and cooperating world . Millennial women are expected to have a high interest to play a global role . Already existing transnational women’s movements  may additionally help to boost self-esteem to create more egalitarian local and global environments.
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This article describes the relationships of cultural intelligence (CQ) with other types of intelligence, motivation, and leadership behavior. Mindfulness provides for a conceptualization of intercultural competence. CQ is a useful competency for acculturation challenges as required for expatriate talents in multinational enterprises. People used to minority status, people from more diverse environments, and those with higher CQ experience more positive acculturation and psychological well-being. For Global Talent Management CQ is essential as a predictor of performance and creativity and therefore increasingly used as assessment tool also for transformational leadership styles.
Emotional and social intelligence, motivation, and leadership behavior
Human capital is the major sub-factor of intellectual capital that contains a measurement of “sharing and reporting knowledge” , indicating that social competencies are acquired capabilities on the basis of emotional intelligence . Cultural intelligence (CQ) might be essential to enable sharing across cultures as it means the ability to adapt to a new culture through open-mindedness and judgment-free respect for others . CQ moderates emotional intelligence and leadership behavior . Indeed, to understand emotional intelligence, cross-cultural differences need to be understood too . As emphasized in the theory of emotional and social intelligence competencies (ESC), the motivation to make use of the competencies is vital to consider too .
Mindfulness, acculturation, and psychological well-being
Mindfulness might provide for a comprehensive conceptualization of intercultural competence as a cultural sensitivity that is put in action as a result of reflection . Cross-cultural intelligence can be taught through different respectively the combination of methods such as lectures, literature, exchange sessions, and most effectively field trips . CQ is also a significant contributor to career capital , potentially not only across geographies, but also in navigating company cultures . Direct inter-cultural contact impacts both cultures involved, a process that is called acculturation . The challenges that come with such foreign cultural influences might be a reason why it is often difficult to find talents who are willing to live abroad. People used to minority status, people from more diverse environments, and those with higher CQ experience more positive acculturation and psychological well-being .
Performance improvement and transformational leadership
Assessing CQ is highly useful for global talent management as there is a proven positive correlation with job performance . Thanks to higher-quality cross-cultural social exchanges, knowledge hiding, on the one hand, can be decreased and creativity, on the other hand, improved . It is, therefore, not surprising that culturally intelligent global leaders are high in demand . An impressing percentage of 92% (out of 100) of companies who invested into improving CQ increased revenues within one and a half years . Multinational organizations’ talent management functions fare well with using CQ as a selection tool . Social intelligence and CQ also predict effective transformational leadership styles  as it allows the appropriate adaption of behavior to cultural differences .
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 Tuleja, E. A. (2014). Developing Cultural Intelligence for Global Leadership through Mindfulness. Journal Of Teaching In International Business, 25(1), 5-24.
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The paradox of the disadvantaged justifying authoritarian systems
It can seem paradoxical that people often justify the existing social system even when this comes at personal and collective costs . System Justification Theory (SJT) provides a framework to understand what the motives and contexts behind this phenomenon are . SJT posits that an underlying ideology is motivating the justification of social order in a way that contributes to the often-unconscious belief of inferiority most strongly among individuals of underprivileged groups . It is not just passivity that gives way to the dominance of political elites . Psychological and ideological processes related to resistance to change imply that albeit possible, change is often difficult . Change is especially difficult if there is an ideological system in place that pronounces an authoritarian culture of inequality that, according to SJT, tends to reinforce itself as a ‘culture of justification’ . The association of a nation with God further strengthens people’s confidence to justify the system .
Exposure to threat causes conservative shift
The political notion of discussion is persuasion  and SJT can be used to influence voters’ viewpoints. Studies found that people who were exposed to thoughts related to death became more supportive of conservative perspectives . Exposure to threat, e.g. in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, indicated a possible shift towards increased approval rates for President George W. Bush . Protests, from a socio-psychological perspective, are triggered by perceived injustice and related anger, social identification, and the faith in collective action. However, existential and relational needs for security can undermine these change antecedents . Following this logic, employees, for example, show an enhanced tendency to deny flaws at their workplace especially in times of scarce labor markets .
System justification impedes critical consciousness
Although it is a myth that Western Societies are characterized by equality of opportunity, studies found that a majority’s belief in equality helps to justify a meritocratic ideology, i.e., that it is, given we all start with the same possibilities, fair that individual differences are rewarded. The motive to legitimize economic inequality is further blocking critical thinking capacities with severe consequences for the economic and psychological well-being of marginalized persons . System threat defense mechanisms related to SJT, such as victim blaming, stereotyping, and inequality legitimization, can help reduce emotional anguish. However, the victims of a justified crisis often have to pay a high price for it ; a price that may be higher in the long-term than the price of protest to achieve positive change.
The role of psychologists in policymaking
It is essential to understand individuals’ view of the salience and scope of systems as they might be system justifiers of varying degrees related to different systems . Also, one must be aware of how ideologies are advocated and reinforced, e.g., through political and societal structures. Psychologists should work in interdisciplinary teams together with policymakers to remove change-averse infrastructure and untrap citizens from the psychological barrier of system justification .
Should system justification be used by organizational leaders to evoke desirable behavior?
First, according to different missions of organizations (e.g., to generate profit, or to grow a movement, etc.), desirable behavior might differ too. Second, I think, even if the behavior of the employees is desirable, a responsible leader should be concerned about how this behavior is created. As system justification is a mostly unconscious and automatic psychological response to threat , it might not be the best basis to maintain desirable behavior sustainably. It may also be difficult to evaluate whether the lack of awareness is protective of the employees’ well-being or whether there are possible indirect taxes to consider. Rationalizing away inequalities to defense the status quo may seem to support fearful individuals . However, being in control in one area may hinder progress in other areas. For example, studies found that women retaining power in their traditional household role prevented them from claiming more equality at the workplace . Possibly not the best outcome for the women and the organization as workforce diversity may be useful for the innovation capacity of organizations in many cases . As system justification works based on personal fear and lack of self-esteem, it is, for example, causing narcissistic personalities to justify hierarchy in the case they believe to benefit from it personally, i.e., having the chance to rise to the top . I could often observe adverse outcomes related to selfish reasons and hidden agendas. Therefore, in summary, I would foster desirable behavior through increasing awareness and reward informed and transparent efforts towards desired outcomes.
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In an increasingly interdependent world, global leadership understanding for international collaboration  is vital for the development of cross-cultural leadership . This essay provides some hints on what might be determining leadership prototype’s effectiveness from different global perspectives .
Universal and culture-specific features of transformational leadership
Transformational leadership facilitates change through shared vision, intellectual stimulation, and support of individual’s aspirations  and is therefore essential for solving contemporary threats that require change . Social change movements need to be put into the context of globalization . The effectiveness of general transformational leadership was found a cross-culturally valid concept . For example, transformational leaders were able to motivate their followers independent of cultural context . In contrast, the desirability and effectiveness of transactional leadership turned out to be culture-dependent . On a more detailed level, also transformational leadership contains some culture-sensitive aspects . For example, enabling others to act and challenging the process appeared to be culture independent, while inspiration through shared vision and showing the way was negatively correlated to cultural values such as uncertainty avoidance .
Societal and cultural beliefs and values
Following the rationale and evidence that the concept of leadership has to be understood against the backdrop of social, historical, and cultural context , what are these factors then? Leadership literature has been criticized for being US-centric . Indeed, 98 percent of leadership concepts stem from Western values and don’t assume a cross-cultural view . As change involves setting goals , and as beliefs about goals represent values, it becomes clear that leadership is not decoupled from the social and cultural context . Consequently, subordinates may respond differently according to their cultural value orientation . For example, while, besides a charismatic leadership style, a participative leadership dimension is most important in the US, Latin America prioritizes team-orientation, and Eastern Europe scored highest in team-oriented and human-oriented aspects . According to the implicit theory of leadership, the bedrock of leadership is how a certain style like transformational leadership gets implicitly meaningful and fine-tuned by the cultural endorsement of values such as, for example, collectivism/individualism, power distance, and level of context .
Global leadership understanding for international collaboration
Despite significant differences measured on national mean levels, individual differences shouldn’t be forgotten when examining cross-cultural differences . Especially power distance orientation has proven to provide a better individual-level measure than individualism/collectivism as the central cultural value . Power distance orientation describes the degree of acceptance and expectation of unequally distributed power [19, 20]. For example, emotional commitment to a transformational leader was higher among followers low in power distance . Beyond national culture, there are even more relevant variables, such as politics, language, feminine and masculine tendencies, and organizational culture . Person-job fit was fund to mediate inclusive leadership and employee well-being . In an increasingly interdependent world, global leadership understanding for international collaboration  is vital for the development of cross-cultural leadership . This essay provided some hints on what might be determining leadership prototype’s effectiveness from different global perspectives .
photo credit: geralt (pixabay.com)
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The life and work of author and speaker Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who died at the age of seventy-five in 2015, provides the opportunity to reflect on leadership from a holistic perspective beyond a specific organizational setting or national politics. Dyer’s many best-selling books on the practical psychology of personal development towards a positive transformation for all of humanity  brought him the nickname of the Father of Motivation by his fans . Writing and meditating on Maui on Eastern Philosophies like Taoism, the Sage of Maui covers the self-conscious wisdom category of the self-help genre . Like in the book ‘Wisdom of the Ages,’ Dyer’s messages focus on virtuous love, inspiration, and patience as found in Confucian, Christian, and Thoreauvian teachings . Having written ‘Erroneous Zones,’ one of the most famous books of all time , and if leadership is about influence, Wayne Dyer was an enormous leader in influencing masses around the globe . Although not limited to an organizational goal setting context, the topics Dyer was promoting represent the core of the study of leadership and address change, motivation, inspiration, and influence .
A practical, humorous, personal, and sometimes too self-confident leader?
As a Welch proverb puts it aptly: “The hand will not reach for what the heart does not long for” , p. 38. In that sense, Dyer’s messages speak empathically to the core desires of people through practical, humorous , and personal  stories, presented as inviting offerings rather than pushing rules. Practical intelligence is of high importance for leaders . Indeed, Dyer focused on outcome rather than intellectualization , one possible reason why he chose the career of an independent writer rather than continuing his university job, which he saw limited to producing papers for the sake of a small self-serving academic community . It was Dyer’s high self-confidence that allowed him to, for example, tell “the shocking truth” he was so convinced about publicly  and therefore intuitively take required risks to advance his growth as a leader . Dyer got accused of plagiarism of Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) . However, he did seemingly ignore what other people think of him  and unwaveringly continued his mission.
Life transitions and openness to experience
Assertiveness is the candid expression of one’s desires, opinions, and feelings and may help to get the recognition that is a powerful human motivator . Wayne Dyer’s public exposure of his style in writing and speaking may have also reflected a personality tendency of extraversion. In the US, extraversion is a personality trait showcased to create a societal image of openness and friendliness . It is therefore difficult to say how much Dyer’s demonstration of extraversion is part of his working brand to reach the goal of spreading his messages as much as possible, and how much, in comparison, he enjoyed his extended writing retreats on Maui from a more introvert perspective. In any case, according to his children’s accounts, he naturally loved to lecture and entertain others with his vast knowledge . Extraversion and openness to experience are personal characteristics that strongly relate to leadership effectiveness . Wayne Dyer’s openness to experience may be well seen in his demonstration of mindfulness that allowed him to accept new and demanding situations, to further develop his self-image, to promote changes, and to let go of attachments . Dyer went through different career transitions and lived over time with three wives and eight children . He also underwent a spiritual transformation in his “meaning stage” of life. These may be lessons of what Dyer framed in his film ‘Shift’ as “What was true in the morning has become a lie in the afternoon” .
Between charismatic mentorship and rescuer syndrome?
Regardless of the leadership position, it seems that the opportunity to help others’ personal growth, rather than sources of satisfaction like power, salary and status  represented the main motive of meaningfulness for Wayne Dyer throughout his life. Dyer spent parts of his childhood in foster homes. However, he described himself as seeing and remembering mainly the positive aspects, what helped him already at the age of three to help others in overcoming their despair . It may be this “naturally” developed talent of soothing others distress that adds a charismatic quality  to Dyer’s personality. In his thirties, Dyer visited his father’s grave and could resolve his anger towards that person who had left a wife with small children in a difficult situation. This pivotal event of forgiveness might not only have unlocked Dyer’s potential as a writer  but may have been necessary not to let the urge to mentor other people become a self-serving compensation for emotional and psychological issues; which would also be known as the rescuer syndrome .
Holistic leadership: inspirational motivation, trust, and loving service
Like Einstein and Emerson, Wayne Dyer believed in the Transcendentalist ideas  of the human soul being able to intuitively connect to the spiritual truth that creates a collective consciousness , itself capable of reconstructing the world . Wishing to lead a God-realized life  and occasionally named a self-help guru  and pied piper of the movement , Dyer could be suspect of suffering self-perceptions of grandiosity . However, Dyer believed, and that’s the position of equality that might have been so appealing to his diverse readers, that the divine realm is available to all . Such an uplifting vision is inspirationally motivating and contributes to a new-genre leadership style that emphasizes an environment of trust and feelings beyond what is necessarily found in transformational leadership . Dyer may be an example of one of the newest leadership theories, that is authentic leadership, and which is true to its values . As a friendly, amiable, assertive, and serving ‘soft leader’ , Dr. Wayne W. Dyer lived the messages he taught . It is loving service and unselfish love that makes holistic leadership .
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