For those who rarely travel out of their home country, it can be a mind-blowing experience to realize that people in other countries approach many facets of life in dramatically different ways. One aspect of life that varies for every country is the type of leadership style utilized by top executives and those in power. Below, I breakdown various leadership styles from four different countries.
The most prevalent leadership style in America can be considered to be more diplomatic and goal-oriented than most. Those in positions of leadership in America are very optimistic, ambitious, assertive, and focused on results. At the same time, they also realize the importance of individuals being able to stand out amongst the rest of the team. Managers and leaders in America will work well with a team and boost company morale, but they will always look for an opportunity to improve their own career and serve their best interests.
Crossing the pond to visit our brethren over in Great Britain, you will find a leadership style that is fairly laid back, infinitely fair, and values the art of compromise. Don’t let this seemingly casual and diplomatic style of leadership convince you to underestimate British leaders and managers. While they understand that more flies can be caught with honey rather than with vinegar, they have no issue putting their foot down and becoming surprisingly ruthless. What makes this leadership style even more disarming and surprising is that the British are able to execute ruthless aggression with dignity, poise, and charm.
Staying true to their ancient philosophical ways, the Japanese utilize a leadership style that is referred to as a Confucian hierarchy. With this method of leadership, the majority of team members and staff are involved in the decision-making process. The team members on the work floor brainstorm and originate the ideas. These ideas are then voted on by all workers until one is chosen as the best. That idea is then sent up the hierarchy to the leader who votes to implement the idea or strike it down. The workers rarely ever interact with the leader and only feel his/her influence through decisions that are made.
Norwegians enjoy a more hands-on approach from their leaders. Leaders in Norway prefer to be right in the middle of everything and are easily accessible by their workers and staff members. While middle managers do exist in this method of leadership, the top decision-makers take their opinions into account but prefer to remain the sole figure of accountability and responsibility for the group.