From adolescence, we are trained to believe that there is only one way to lead. That there’s one person up top that is running the whole show and after that, it’s a whole mess of constituents that are either giving him a hard time or listening to his command.
However, there are more styles than the traditional hierarchical approach that we bring up here to North America.
Here’s a nifty graphic that goes over some of the popular leadership styles from across the globe:
This graph only represents the popular (or traditional) leadership style that organizations have in that region.
There isn’t necessarily a study that shows how a leadership style can influence productivity, but I am going to cross-reference the style of management with the GDP of the region, while also taking population into account, in order to try and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
An Efficient Way Of Managing?
When you see the chart, you start seeing that organizations across the globe have a lot of historic, religious, and respected values.
Though they may not be as efficient from a work/government standpoint, they can definitely be respected from a balance + life priority standpoint.
Take for instance the Indian leadership style. It is the only approach that takes family into account. Richard Lewis finds that the Indian organizational culture is organized and hardworking, but they tend to value their family more than other cultures.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person for skipping a family dinner to get an assignment done. We have been nurtured to believe that work can carry the same weight as family in a priority list.
We have also been nurtured to always think that the boss was always right, but as I’ll get into later, things can change if people are willing to embrace it and work hard it.
The organizational culture out in India has assisted in getting them ranked at #9 in the GDP list. However, considering they’re a country that has over 1 Billion inhabitants (2nd in the world) you would have to question two things:
- If they had a different model with all the people would they have a richer economy?
- And being that it’s a family-oriented culture, is it wrong to question if they have it all messed up?
Is it efficient? It’s all based on the values you have and want to have as an individual or company.
If, as a manager, you were to feel comfortable running a company with enough income to keep employees happy and make enough profits to keep it sustainable, then why not?
On a completely unrelated note: the Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi has admittedly said it’s tough transitioning to a big role as an Indian woman.
She has a lovely interview where she goes over some of the pitfalls of having a certain mindset and bringing it to a North American company that has its “traditional” culture.
How About Another Part Of The World?
The Netherlands has one of the most interesting leadership schemes out of the visual.
It is essentially an escalator style of leadership. Not that much disparity between all the leaders and the one at the top of the company. The interesting part is that the top dog will always refer to the employees to see what can be done in order to get a real voice for the people.
It’s a holacratic democracy of sorts, that allows for the people up top to hear out people. As opposed to the word coming from the top being final, taking an employee’s input and suggestions seems like the amicable route.
This system has the Netherlands at 17th in the world. Considering that their population isn’t that big and can produce a lot for its economy, it makes you wonder if having a leader that listens can help more businesses.
Finland also had one that seemed interesting. As it’s a mix of having a flat-hierarchy, while still having officers the right to jump in and help make a decision.
This has a governmental vibe to it, as the officers only come in for crucial decision-making. If the person is trustworthy and is a good voice of reason, why not?
Finland has about 5.5 mil people. A country that is 5/9ths of New York City is 40th in the world. So I would have to say that they have a healthy leadership model.
The Holacratic Model: Does It Work?
Here in North America, the industrial revolution has really influenced the chain of command in which we respect our superiors. So much so, that we have become enamored by the role of CEO and think that is the pinnacle of success.
We have been nurtured to believe that the man up top knew what he was doing and we must listen to them.
However, if you look at a lot of the companies on there that have higher GDP’s you’ll see one common thing. They all have variants of a holacratic system. Australia (17), UK (5), Sweden (22), Norway (27).
They ranked in the top 30 countries of the world with the best GDP, more interesting through, an international study conducted by the OECD, shows that they rank better in quality of life over most of them. The US beats the UK in the index, slightly.
Not only are the beating countries that are bigger in land mass and infrastructure, but countries that are nearly 20 times the people in them.
From a global standpoint, the holacratic model is working for small countries to develop their businesses, economy, and quality of life. Yet, we aren’t adapting to it because we have been nurtured to believe that employees can’t give feedback to their leaders.
As most companies and countries are proving, leadership is found through bonding and creating a good atmosphere. Where community and well-being is prioritized over a title.
What Are Some Leadership Styles That Can Be Applied?
Would you happen to know a new way for organizations to create a high-quality, productive atmosphere? Let us know what you think.