There once was a salesperson, Adam, who used his outcome-focused personality to successfully create a contract with Client C, his company’s largest client. When Beth, a bright, sociable and talented new sales colleague arrived on the scene and also went to meet Client C to sell a new product, Adam felt threatened and went into stress-driven behavior. Adam bad-mouthed Beth to the client and sent an email to their boss, Dan, inferring that Beth had approached the client unethically. Fortunately, Dan was an experienced leader with extensive interpersonal communication training and was skillful at recognizing behaviors in himself and others. It occurred to Dan that there might be something underlying Adam’s back-stabbing behavior, and Dan suspected that it was something Adam wasn’t able to legitimately ask for, like exclusive sales rights to Client C. If you were in Dan’s shoes as the leader, what would you do?Well, you might take a tour of the ACCJ Workshop series, where answers about leadership can be found amongst a bucket of takeaways. Indeed many ACCJ members see the workshop series as a key benefit of ACCJ membership, and send their employees for training through these. This article will give you a taste of some of the workshops this past year.
Elizabeth Handover’s Lumina Learning workshop trains managers to know themselves, better understand those they work with, and how to adapt to the needs of different interpersonal situations such as the difficult one with Dan and Adam above. The Lumina Spark Portrait analyzes individual preferences with depth and detail, including behaviors as they show up in three different contexts, “underlying”, “everyday” and “overextended.” Adam is an example of a highly capable person who in his everyday work life is purposeful, competitive and tough, but when under pressure becomes overextended. His assertive tendencies flip into aggressive approaches that get in the way of being fair and collaborative. Under stress, he can go from being “competitive” to “winning at all costs”; from “taking charge” to “controlling others”; and from being “purposeful to being “goalfixated.”
Dacher Keltner’s research at UC Berkeley explores what happens to the “Adams” of the world who are willing to deceive, backstab, intimidate, and undermine others in their pursuit of power. Keltner’s research found that these individuals do not actually rise to positions of power. Instead, their peers quickly recognize that they will harm others in the pursuit of their own self-interest, and tag them with a reputation of being harmful to the group and not worthy of leadership.
By the way, the actual result of the story above with Adam and Dan was that Dan brought the subject up by asking Adam, “What is the outcome you were actually seeking here?” with the goal of replacing Adam’s behind-the-back behavior with transparency. Dan then proceeded to lay out what Adam could and could not legitimately do. Dan then went the extra step to remind the sales team of their code of conduct, philosophy, and his expectations of them.
Elizabeth Handover, the founder and President of Intrapersona K.K. and the Asia Partner for Lumina Learning, is a highly experienced workshop leader and facilitator. Strongly committed to developing positive people-focused leadership skills she has designed and facilitated many interactive programs to meet the particular challenges that Japan based organizations face in the fast changing global business environment. Elizabeth delivers a wide range of learning solutions including Leadership Presence, Presentation Skills, Diversity and Talent Development.
Yoshi Matsui’s workshop drew on two cutting edge leadership assessments: (a) TriMetrix psychometrics and (b) the Zenger-Folkman online leadership assessment. These online assessments allowed participants to identify their leadership strengths and areas to develop towards taking their leadership to the next level, and serves in Yoshi’s Ph.D. research comparing Japanese and Western leaders.
Yoshi shared five essential leadership skills from Jim Robin’s (2007) research: 1) Interpersonal Skills, 2) Self Management (the ability to control one’s emotions), 3) Personal Accountability (doing what you say you will do), 4) Influencing Others (using personal power, rather than the power of your position) and 5) Goal Achievement.
At the other end of the spectrum, Zenger and Folkman’s research (2002), suggests five fatal flaws for rising leaders included: 1) Inability to learn from both success and failure, 2) Lack of core interpersonal skills (such as communication, the ability to build trust and engage others), 3) Lack of openness to new or different ideas, 4) Lack of accountability, and 5) Lack of initiative.
Research on leaders (Zenger & Folkman, 2002) shows that, among the top ten per cent of leaders studied, over two thirds (66 percent) focused on both results and interpersonal skills, while only 9 percent focused only on interpersonal skills and 13 percent focused solely on results. This suggests focusing on both results and interpersonal skills simultaneously, rather than linear step-by-step development approach, is one effective way to take your leadership to the next level.
Yoshi Matsui is the president of HPO Creation, with decades of experience as a leadership and organization development facilitator. He designs and facilitates programs to meet the leadership and organizational challenges facing Japan-based organizations in the fast-paced global business environment. Matui-san has experience delivering a wide range of learning solutions, including teamwork, diversity, influencing and talent development. He also teaches and facilitates the OD course at Temple University for HR and organization leaders. Matsui-san has completed all coursework for the PhD in Organization Change at Pepperdine University, and is using these surveys in his dissertation research on leadership.
PAM NODA & YURI MORIKAWA
Delving into the area of interpersonal relations, Pam Noda and Yuri Morikawa’s workshop shares how to “Build Your Best Team Ever with Relationship Systems Coaching.” Noda and Morikawa propose that leadership happens in relationships. The best teams produce exceptional results through deliberately placing attention on the relationship that is the “Team as a Whole.” This kind of leadership, which calls for awareness and strong intention on the part of all team members, is grounded in Relationship Systems Intelligence™ (RSI). RSI involves reading the tone, or energy, in a team and deliberately working with it to create an intended atmosphere and outcome. In teams versed in RSI, the job of building a good team is more than the role of the team’s designated leader: it is a collective effort among all team members. This is team leadership. An example is Nadeshiko Japan, winner of the 2011 Soccer Women’s World Cup. The team has taught us how a combination of strong individuals with strong alignment, awareness and intention among members could create a legendary victory. Each team member was sensitive to their colleagues and strove to put themselves in each other’s shoes for the betterment of the team. This kind of leadership is grounded in Relationship Systems Intelligence™ (RSI).
Focusing on leadership from a team perspective, one key competency for leaders is the ability to facilitate team leadership. To empower team leadership, Noda and Morikawa use systems coaching to support both individual authenticity and strong RSI. When team members become able to read the tone in the team and work with the team as a whole to generate an intended energy, then “best teams” are no longer an accident, but something that can be created intentionally. This workshop teaches the key ingredient that builds team intelligence; how to read and use the “tone” in the team to the team’s advantage; and how to strengthen the key indicators for improving team results. With this knowledge, individual leadership is transformed into team leadership.
Yuri Morikawa is an independent coach who enables the creation of an empowering space for individuals and organizations to come alive. She is a faculty member of the Coaches Training Institute and the Center for Right Relationship, through which she introduced Organizational and Relationship Systems Coaching to Japan in 2009.
Pam Noda is an independent relationship systems coach who specializes in teaching communication skills to enhance the environment in which teams and family businesses operate. In addition, she is a certified Speaking Circles facilitator and the founder of Hearts at Home Abroad. Her passion is to help people really talk to each other.
One teambuilding tool that transcends culture is the drum circle. Drum circles center on in-the-moment improvisational music making with drums and percussion instruments. With the help of a drum circle facilitator, even total beginners can often easily and spontaneously make even better music than those who are with music expertise. In a drum circle, non-verbal communication is key. Each participant is constantly sending out and taking in information at the same time. It forms group dynamics and affect the whole group.
Your conscious and subconscious learns that leadership can come from anywhere at anytime, while diversity is appreciated and difference of the rank is removed for the moment. To nurture and promote such leadership, each member of the group needs to be aware of how powerful his/her influence is on the group and how he/she is affected by others’ leadership. At the same time, that awareness leads to more independent consciousness and commitment of each member. Attuning our awareness to what is happening in a particular moment results in more creative and “flow-oriented” leadership, using all of our senses. Since the drum circle is non-verbal, learning it allows us to remove all the other sensory stimuli we normally encounter in groups, and focus on a gesture, facial expression, tone and volume, rather than getting caught up in words and issue content.
Kaoru Sasaki is the pioneer of drum circle movement in Japan and the only drum circle facilitator in the world certified by both International Drum Circle Facilitators’ Guild and Village Music Circles of Arthur Hull, the originator of drum circles. Her experience with extensively diverse populations adds a new insight to understanding of group dynamics and leadership. She is also an organizational development consultant, dialog designer/facilitator and Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner,. Kaoru is an author of 「エンパワーメント・ドラムサークル~ファシリテーターの在り方」and supervisor/translator of more than 30 books.
Turning to cross-cultural interpersonal skills, Annette Karseras’ workshop “Global Mindset for Japan-based Managers” focused on developing the listening and inquiry skills of managers in English and Japanese, with the backdrop of global systems-thinking. Global managers coming to Japan benefit from ‘higher context’ listening skills – the ability to ‘listen non-verbally,’ taking personal and shared responsibility to sense, interpret and act according to the emotional charge of workplace dealings. Domestic managers moving to ‘lower context’ international environments typically benefit from a more inquiry style of management to compliment command-and-control instruction with more detailed, two-way discussion. Such flexibility is a core competence for global leaders.
Nisbett and Matsuda’s classic ‘object and field’ activities illustrate just how much high and low context orientations shape our world view. Role-play and debriefing to help people become comfortable and confident switching between high and low context styles is part of the program. Similar to the way slow motion replays are used in sports coaching, the debriefing that follows the role-play helps to generate new insights.
Mastering the flexibility to use different communication styles according to culture and context helps mangers maximize the impact of their technical skills. For some this is about not being blindsided by something that went unnoticed during a client negotiation. For others it is about achieving greater alignment between employee motivation and organizational needs. Global systems thinking provides the backdrop for greater awareness of alternative (cultural) viewpoints and potential for more effective problem-solving between Japan-based managers and their international teams. Karseras stresses global systems-thinking in her workshops.
Annette Karseras is a Japan and UK-based coach and training consultant who works at all levels of the organization. She also facilitates experiential learning programs with Impact Japan and works at Japan’s top universities. Annette is a member of the International Coach Federation and has trained with the Coach Training Institute and the Society for Organizational Learning’s Systems Coaching.
Another aspect of leadership is the power to shape the future through thoughts and influence. Thought-leaders like Steve Jobs have influenced the world and have changed the way we think. As the world becomes more interconnected and as technology develops, thought leadership is and will become increasingly more important on a global scale. At the heart of thought leadership are two essential elements: the thought itself; and leading (or influencing) thoughts. In October, Grant Bosnick’s workshop, “7 Tools of Creative Thinking,” explored how thoughts originate and how ideas are generated.
We can better craft thought by engaging our mind through imagination, association and inspiration, brainstorming and categorizing; and by facilitating our thought process through mental rest and generating seeds. Having once crafted thought, we can then move on to innovation, influence and implementation.
Towards developing leaders, Yoshi Matsui suggests tools such as “challenge-on- the-job,” “assessment,” and “support.” Challenge-on-the-job refers to challenging experiences that help people to grow out of current capacity; holistic and specific assessment is necessary to help people increase self-awareness, understand what skills they need to develop, and recognize the need for competency development. As McCauley, Moxley and Van Velsor (1998) point out, organizational and coaching support can also help people deal with developmental dilemmas and problems.
Grant Bosnick is a consultant and coach, and the founder of YES (Your Empowering Solution). He specializes in leadership development for high potentials across Asia, including a 13-day mini MBA program tailor-made for organizations and is a faculty member of Kenichi Ohmae Graduate School of Business. He is also a speaker and coach for American Management Association and, along with Akihiro Sumitomo, one of the pioneers of “2on1” Executive Coaching.