Introduction to Cross Cultural Leadership
In today’s world, all the companies are going global to expand their business and to capture the large market share. A company consists of many employees, working under different levels of management, who support, encourage and motivate them to fulfill the goals of the organization. In the global context, companies need a leader who can adjust into different environments quickly and work with partners and employees of the other countries. In this report, the case of Addvit plc and the issues related to appointment of managers in different counties and the skills that they should have so that company can take a good and huge start in the international market is discussed. There are various cultural issues that affect the leadership style of the manager in this foreign environment which is also been talked about.
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Addvit Plc is a UK based company which manufactures and distributes energy drinks to UK. The Board of directors of the company decided to expand the company into international market (Buch and Rivers, 2001). Company wants to appoint manager for their each new site in different country and they are in a dilemma whether to appoint local manager or home manager. It is very important to choose a good leader who can help the company to make a good start in the new environment. Human Resource department should ensure that leaders that are appointed in cross-cultural teams should have specific competencies for the success of the company. There are various factors that should be considered while appointing a manager-
Adapt Socially- Being able to adapt socially shows leader’s ability to socialize very comfortably with the new people in the new environment (Deng and Gibson, 2009). He should be able to show genuine interest in the other people and should remember their names. In today’s competitive and global environment it is very much necessary for a leader to act friendly with the employees, this helps the employees to understand him and also to adjust under his leadership. Much of as social business takes place in social situations, over food and drinks and the leaders who can take the advantage of these situations are more successful than leaders who can’t. A good leader can easily motivate and encourage the employees, and can help them to fulfill their personal as well as company’s goals. If a leader will adapt socially, Addvit will be able to make good relationships with the employees and this will give them good start in the new environment.
Demonstrate Creativity- In cross cultural environment, creative approaches are very difficult but more successful in debatable situations. Successful cross-culture is all about leading through the others by finding creative and unique ways to retain, select and motivate the different types of talents (Littrell, 2013). Leader should enjoy the new challenge and should seek innovative ways either by him or by discussing with the employees in difficult and situational issues. This will build a sense of responsibility among the new employees and they will consider themselves an important part of the organization. This approach will also help the manager to see the working of the organization holistically and will also help him to predict the outcomes and act accordingly.
Addvit is a sports drink manufacturer so it is very necessary for them to become creative and target the right business and a good creative leader will give them the new opportunities and idea to expand and capture the market share in new situations.
Maintain an Even Disposition- Starting a business in a new country is very stressful and difficult work. Organizations have to make lots of efforts to target and acquire the customers and to do this they put lots of pressure on the employees and leaders. Due to these adverse situations employees start getting de-motivated and negative, this results on their working. These negative behaviors cause great damage by quickly destroying the image of the company in international market which takes years to build (Lok and Crawford, J2004). It is very important for the company that leaders understand how this negativity will affect the people from different cultures. A leader should make efforts to reduce this false environment by motivating and encouraging the employees to do their best and prove them.
Addvit have to ensure that the leader should be capable of understanding the working culture of the people and can take the necessary actions to reduce the pressure and stress.
Respect Beliefs- Employees in different countries have different beliefs, cultures and values. Respecting the political and spiritual beliefs of the employees in other cultures require leaders to have good understanding and humor, which is very important in international business. Leaders who can use interesting and appropriate humor in stressful situations regarding political & spiritual beliefs can reduce the tensions among employees and loosen things for more successful working conditions (Muna, 2011). Leaders should be careful in both verbal and non-verbal messages to not only avoid the wrong and disrespectful comments, but to learn the beliefs and mindset of the employees to show respect.
By respecting the beliefs and culture of the employees, Addvit will make good and strong bonding with them and this will result in better success chances then other competitors.
Instil Trust- It is very difficult to build the foundation of trust in various cultures because the definition of trust is different in each culture. Less trust generally slows down every function of the company like decision making, social atmosphere, communication and every relationship (Ogbor, 2000). Trust helps the employees to adjust quickly in the organization and also boosts up the speed of the work. Leaders should try and bring high trust in the cross cultural organizations to get best results by clarifying expectations, listening, creating transparency and practicing accountability.
It is very important for Addvit to create trust among the employees so that the company can get healthy and innovative working environment in different countries.
Navigate Ambiguity- Doubtfulness can easily develop in the cross cultural environment which hamper the working of the organization. Leaders need to calm themselves and find out how things are done in different cultures. He should know that ambiguity is important part in leading across cultures, and there are very great advantages while working in these situations (Posner, 2013).
Through this, Addvit will be able to create a successful team of people in the international market which can fulfill its goal in capturing the market share.
In order to deal effectively in the cross-cultural environment a manager should have different skills, competencies, etc which can allow him to carry out his roles effectively. Some of the competencies are-
Knowledge of Economy- This is the foremost skill that is required in a manager who is working in different country. When working in the MNC in the APEC economies, it is very important for manager to speak languages as well as understand the practices and issues of the economy in the country. To do this a manager should make effort to know the key competitors in the country and what is the role and policies of government regarding the business environment. These skills will help Addvit to have the holistic view of the country they are working which will help them to adopt new strategies (Prager and Such, 2010).
Communication and Listening Skill- It is the important part of the manager to convey his ideas and views effectively and efficiently to the employees. He should be able to read, write and speak the native language so that he can understand the people in a much better way. Manager should also have the listening capability so that he can find out and understand the issues of the team (Wilson, 2011). These managerial qualities will help Addvit to make successful relations with the employees and they will be able to satisfy the employees in a much better way.
Ability to work under pressure- It will be very difficult for the Addvit manager to start business in new working conditions and also while working in another culture there are many unseen and cultural issues that arise at last minutes. So a manager should have the ability to remain calm in these situations (Tomlinson, 2004). He should have skills to find the solutions for these problems and also to finish the work as soon as possible.
Empathy- This skill is important for both the manager and the employees who want to become successful in life. A manager should demonstrate empathy for his subordinates, top level management, clients, etc. While working in cross cultural area it is very important to understand the feelings of others (Bosma, 2007).
Patience and flexibility- There are many uncertain and difficult situations in starting or developing a business in foreign environment, which can come across manager at any time, so it is very important for him to keep his calm in these stressful situations and then he should think of the solutions to remove all the hurdles and move forward. Addvit manager should have these skills so that he can calmly understand the culture of the country and can work with ambiguity and proper strategies.
Teamwork & Leadership- In MNCs the value of teamwork and leadership is very important. Employees & managers are expected to work and give performance as a part of team. Many important projects are given to managers which he has to do by involving and taking the advice of each team member (Johnston, 2008). A manager should have leadership qualities like taking the initiative, assertiveness, ability to give and take the advice, creativeness and independent thinking. He must be able to motivate and push members to work hard and give results but at the same time he should also keep the environment positive and relaxed at the workplace.
Technological Skills- Technology is changing the way company is doing business all over the globe. The internet, mobiles, tablets, software’s and social media are used in all the companies to help the manager and the employees to work together across international borders and different time zone. These technologies have created new and better opportunities for the companies to expand themselves (Silverthorne, 2005). Managers who are working should have the knowledge of all these new technologies and he should have a learning quality so that he can adapt himself with the changing environment and can give better and efficient results (Lingenfelter, 2008).
Self confidence- Before encouraging and motivating others, a manager should have confidence in himself that he can work and control team to give improved results. He should have the capability to motivate himself is tense situations so that he can discover some alternative solutions to solve the problem in an efficient way.
Decisiveness- A manager should have the ability to take right and appropriate decisions in all situations. He should involve all the team members, take their advice and then he must take the decision by keeping the holistic view of the organization. He should have the full confidence in his decision which he has opted is correct choice for the situation (Moodian, 2009).
Network Building- As Addvit wants to operate in different country, the manager should have the skill to develop networks and contacts which can help the organization to expand and cover the market. He should make good relations with local community, government and important stakeholders for the smooth and continuous work of the organization.
In a globalised environment, having a cross cultural team is a norm. Leader and his leadership style have great influence over the employees. For example shyness is considered rude in some cultures, aggression might seem good to some people even it is erroneous to do. Leading a cross cultural team is about removing the differences and pulling the right lever at right time to get the most efficient work out of team. Addvit Plc managers can follow different styles in the new environment but with every style there is always one or the other cultural issue. Management has to consider various cultural issues while adopting a leadership style. Some of the cultural issues related to different leadership styles are-
Work Culture- It is one of the most common cultural issues in the leadership style. Many leaders try to imply same work culture which the organization is having in its parent company. They fail to understand that each country has different culture and people and this results in misunderstandings and ineffective work force and environment (Pauleen, 2007). Leader should understand the local environment and the working of people and then he should adopt his leadership style.
Respect- Many leaders are autocratic and they just order their employees to work and do not involve them in any decision making. They do not respect employees and do not take care of their well being. This style of leadership affects the employees in a bad way and it results in their demotivation, stress, inefficiency, etc (Pence, 2012). Leaders should understand that they have to adopt new styles for the people in different environment which the people can follow and understand.
Equal Participation- This is also a major issue related to the leadership style which affects the organization. Many leaders do not involve employees in the decision making and take decisions alone. This leads to the negativity among the employees; they feel that they are not the part of the organization (Penley, 2008). A leader should use style in which all can participate freely and can feel that they are also important.
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Poor communication-Leaders generally don’t communicate properly with their subordinates and just regulate them to do work; as a result employees are not able to understand the work properly. Leaders should adopt a style where the employees feel comfortable to share the views with other and managers so that the work could be done very effectively.
Inconsistency-It is another contributor to the cultural disorder which leads to disappointment among employees. Employees may feel like the policies and rules applied by leader are not fair and equal and manager is not penalizing some of the employees for breaking the rules. To avoid all these, manager should adopt a style where all are considered equal and can work with full satisfaction.
Ambiguity- Generally employees don’t understand what is expected from them and feel that stated policies are in conflict with the actual practices. A leader should follow all the rules and regulations applied strictly so that employees can work under secure environment to provide better results (Shin, 2008).
Addvit plc is a company, based in UK, which manufactures and distributes energy drinks to the UK market. They decided to expand in different countries because of their great domestic success. For starting a business in different country is very tricky and it takes lots of hard work to establish a place in the market. One of the most important things is to find a good manager who can handle the pressure of the company and can give it a good start. The company should decide fairly whether to adopt local manager or current company manager. To find this they should see some of the factors like sociability because a good social manager will help the company to build new contracts, relationships, etc which will strengthen the foundation of the company. Manager should also be creative which can find innovative solutions; he should be a person to trust and respect. According to me the company should adopt a local manager because first of all he is well aware with the conditions in the foreign environment which will help the company to save time for research and secondly he will be able to understand the local people much better because of same language, mindset and work culture. He will be able to make better relations with the government and stakeholders. Company can give him training so that he can understand the policies and environment of the organization.
A good manager should have various skills like good communication, respecting other, no discrimination etc. These all things are very important in the company for complete satisfaction and performance of the employees.
In this particular company, manager could develop these qualities with proper training which will increase his productivity.
Different cultural issues are the part of the organization and it is the obligation of the manager to find and eliminate them. For this, he should talk to employees on regular basis and collect their feedback about what is wrong in the organization and what can be done to improve that. By involving people in the organization, the manager will be able to make good relations with them and can create a positive environment in the organization.
A leader’s cross –cultural leadership is rising in importance in the shrinking global economy. A cross cultural leadership brings innovation, fresh perspective and creative problem solving to the workplace. In this report many factors which should be kept in mind while appointing a local or current company manager are argued. But it is necessary that the manager should have those qualities which can heighten the progress of the company in unfamiliar environment like socially adaptable, trustworthy, etc. Further, manager should have various skills and abilities so that he can drive his team on the path of success and development. He should be able to avoid various cultural issues effectively by keeping the holistic view in his psyche. By doing these things, company can get a concrete start in the international market and can create a good brand image in front of other competitors.
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