In the article recommended for reading this week (Leadership Style Variations Across Cultures: Overview of GLOBE Research findings) authors present 6 dimensions of Culturally Endorsed Leadership Theory. Below you can find reflections on these research findings written by Aidan Conney. Please read these reflections and referring to other class materials write your comment on this text. In your comment try to explain whether you agree that the dimensions described there are universal. Then list some of the culture specific factors that in your opinion may influence leadership style.
Community leadership is not just about solving a community's problems with what one person or group deems the best possible solution, but working with the active participation and leadership of the community to transcend the issues causing the problems in the first place - helping it to become a stronger community and gain success in the realms of the people's shared values as time progresses. The six leadership dimensions of the Culturally Endorsed Leadership Theory stem from observations and research among a very diverse set of actors and communities, creating a universal (though different in magnitude) set of attributes that leaders indeed share in common around the world.
The first of these dimensions of leadership is Charismatic/Value-Based, which the author defines in a leader as "the ability to inspire, to motivate, and to expect high performance outcomes from others on the basis of firmly held core values" (Grove, 2004). This is considered a universal component of leadership because even though values differentiate across cultures and geopolitical boundaries, leaders of such societies must encompass the values of those they lead, be inspirational to invoke hope and passion in individuals, and to motivate as many in the community to assist in achieving whatever goals are defined - based on each society's unique set of factors. This would be universal for positive, inclusive leadership found in many communities. There are cultural specific factors (like beliefs and norms which view specific people or cultures in a negative light) which could elevate leaders who do not invoke the values of those they are supposed to lead (those of the common villager, the family man, the mothers) but are in a position of power and use their charisma to ultimately shape the values of those they lead, potentially leading to idealistic, religious, or racial based confrontations. The love of power in some cultures can have an impact on leaders, motivating and inspiring for brutal causes, effectively moving communities backwards instead of forwards, hardly holding the values of individual people at the core of decision-making.
The next dimension is Team Oriented, a characteristic that emphasizes "effective team building and implementation of a common purpose or goal among team members" (Grove, 2004). This seems to be universal for the fact that in order to get anything done that involves multiple people, perspectives, problems, solutions, etc. - collaborative effort and communication (team work) are the tools that can overcome complex problems with the greatest positive solution for all involved. This dimension shares much of the definition of collaborative leadership, where "...if you bring the appropriate people together in constructive ways with good information, they will create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the organization or community" (Rabinowitz, 2013). Universally, we all belong to some sort of a community, and a leader among any community would recognize that concerns involving the broad interests would require input and participation from as many people as possible. Two heads are better than one.
The Participative dimension involves those within the community in decision-making processes. The more democratic the society or community, the more it will lean towards having participative-thinking leaders. This is true universally in cultures that have such structures. However, some cultures see women as inferior, and decisions coming from leaders of such cultures have many impacts on the women within the communities, their livelihoods, and empowerment. Many cultures also don't allow children to participate in decision-making, another impediment to full inclusiveness towards a community's common good.
The Humane Oriented dimension of leadership protects the notion that though the goal is a well-functioning system, it is a system made up of people - so a leader must be compassionate, generous, understanding, supportive and sensitive to needs of others. I think this is a universal quality of leaders of the commons because people have emotions and morals/ethics, which help guide people throughout their lives. Leaders must recognize the fragility of humans in order to gain support from those requiring the leadership. Again, within a culture whose core beliefs contain disdain for any other individual or group, there might be support for leaders who are more internally humane oriented that outwardly humane oriented to those not belonging to the community itself.
The Self-Protective dimension "focuses on ensuring the safety and security of the individual or group member" (Grove, 2004). This seems universal because, historically, the more influence and power a leader has among/over their respective communities the more they are a target for enemies of other communities or alternative ideologies within their own society. Assassinations, coups, and disappearances have all indeed happened to leaders, good and bad, so having this dimension among most cultures of the world seems reasonable when responding to issues of risk and putting one's self out there.
The last and newly added dimension is Autonomous, referring to individualistic and independent leadership. It seems that it is shared among the cultures studied but scored overall low scores over the spectrum of positive importance. I feel this is more culturally specific, as the more Westernized societies seem to get the more individualistic they become, rather than having a community well being, value-based perspective. As seen in the leadership of Sabore Ole Oyie, the Maasai tribe has distinct hierarchy of elders, advisors to elders, warriors, women's roles, etc. but the values the leaders hold (respect and tradition) are what drives the decisions of the tribe toward bettering the community as a whole. The challenges Sabore said he faced as a leader where not individual challenges, but challenges to the community - obtaining safe drinking water from an unclean river, public health, education, access to and understanding of financing so as not to get taken advantage of (Grasz, 2008). Hellen Nkuraiya has a different leadership style due to her own cultural and environmental factors in her life, advocating for the protection of young girls and their right to an education and empowerment, transcending cultural norms of getting married off (sold) at a very young age in exchange for cows (or something of value). She shares values with those of the YES We Can! Community Leadership Program, which encompass leading by example, with all of your heart, compassion and all of your senses (Art of Living Foundation, 2009).
Universal outstanding leadership is summarized by leaders being inspirational motivators, inclusive in decision-making and processes, compassionate in their heart, trustworthy among the community, and under certain circumstances self-protective and individualistic depending on the cultural, social, and economic factors.
Art of Living Foundation (2009). Community Leadership Program YES - We Can! Europe. YouTube. Video. Retrieved on September 28, 2013 from: http://youtu.be/AZKJM-M0LbM
Grasz, E. (2008). Leadership Values that Transcends Cultures. YouTube. Seminar. Retrieved on September 28, 2013 from http://youtu.be/ILs1dTCnTN8
Grove, C. N. (2004) "Leadership Style Variations Across Cultures: Overview of GLOBE Research Findings."Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies. (2004). Retrieved on 28 Sep. 2013 from <http://www.grovewell.com/pub-GLOBE-leadership.html>.
Rabinowitz, P. (2013) "Collaborative Leadership." The Community Tool Box. Retrieved on 28 Sep. 2013 from <http://ctb.ku.edu/en/tablecontents/sub_section_main_1874.asp&xgt>.