Tag Archives: Growth Enablement

BECOME RESILIENT: How to mentally configure the three basic human needs of safety, satisfaction, and connectedness

This article is part of a collaborative effort to shed light on the critically important topic of resilience. Three perspectives, however, revealing common patterns of the concept and approaches to become more resilient. You can read the original collaborative post on Patty’s Blog featuring the skilled helpers listed below: https://pattywolters.com/blog/2020/12/24/resilience-skilled-helpers-collaborative/

Full article by Mathias Sager (Psychology & Art)

BECOME RESILIENT: How to mentally configure the three basic human needs of safety, satisfaction, and connectedness

Inspiration and wholeness in nature (Rigi, Switzerland)

“Resilience is a process reflecting positive adaptation in the face of adversity” [1, p. 1]. What adversity means to different people depends on individual, socio-cultural, and contextual circumstances.

The Big Five or five-factor personality assessment model (FFM) was found to be able to depict the concept of resiliency as a personality aspect as accurately as specific resiliency measurement tools [2]. Personality traits described and assessed with the five-factor model [3] consist of five mostly independent personality trait dimensions, i.e.,

  • extraversion,
  • conscientiousness,
  • agreeableness,
  • neuroticism, and
  • openness to experience [4].

A resilient personality is characterized by high scores on the FFM dimensions of extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience, and low scores in neuroticism [5]. Openness to experience seems to be particularly important; it should be seen as’ openness to cultural diversity’ too [6], including the ability to regulate one’s emotions [7] and to avoid extensive sensation seeking, which, for example, bears the risk of substance abuse [6]. Equipped with such personal abilities, the rapid (global) changes in our times [8] caused by ever novel, complex, and changing socio-economical, environmental, technological, and health-related factors [9] can be met with higher resilience.

Other psychological concepts related to coping with adversity are the so-called ‘tolerance for ambiguity’ and ‘tolerance for uncertainty’ measures. These abilities are closely linked to mindfulness. For example, people educated in open-mindedness and who have learned to tolerate ambiguity can better persevere in their tolerance even in situations of insecurity and danger [10]. In that context, hope as related to resilience is enabling individuals to imagine a better future and to endure the present despite the uncertainty for such an achievement [11]. However, it’s not done with hope alone. A strong belief in and an identification with the possibility of achievement are the drivers for the work ethic that required for the realization of the hope. That way, in a first step, the promotion of hope might be a useful approach to reduce uncertainty intolerance and consequently to increase the tolerance for ambiguity for a more open-mindedness that leaves room for thoughtful and empathic decisions that lead to work towards desired and desirable outcomes.

Yes, a major outcome of resilience is empathy. It’s not threats themselves, but how people can resiliently respond to them. If there is no openness to decipher ambiguous, uncertain information, one risks to take the shortcut of, for example, stereotyping and promote black-and-white thinking that is further hindering an open mindset. A vicious spiral, indeed!

Maslow (1968) made the point that we are oriented toward either growth or safety in our everyday lives and that a growth orientation is more favorable for psychological health and well-being [12]. When self-protection (needs) get reduced, self-awareness can arise and facilitate the appreciation of multiple possibilities in situations, which might be the stage of personal development where tolerance for ambiguity as the capacity to accept paradoxes starts to become feasible [13]. Systems of mass conformity, authoritarianism, and nationalism/racism (as well as an emotional attachment to materialism in general) are offered as a means for safety, unfortunately at the cost of growth possibilities through autonomy, creativity, and the use of reason.

Unfortunately, “dealing with ambiguity, respectively the ability to cope with adversity (resilience) is seldom taught, but individuals striving for higher qualities tend to understand that uncertainty is the gateway to opportunity” [14, p. 30]. Therefore, societies should prepare the next generation for life, and it will be crucial how we instill hope and support our children to live constructively with uncertainties while retaining a high tolerance for ambiguity and open-mindedness as required to be truly resilient and find the solutions sought for the benefit of all [15].

Practically spoken, to get more resilient, one needs to be ready to adapt her/his belief system. Unfortunately, our ‘stable identity’ obsessed ego causes us to not like change. Nevertheless, as long as there is a fear of loss, there will always be defense mechanisms that hamper open-mindedness, and as a result, resilience too. There is good news, though, to adopt a resilient belief system, the three basic human needs of (1) safety, (2) satisfaction, and (3) connectedness don’t need to be abandoned, while it is essential to think about their socio-temporal ‘configuration’, which I call Awareness Intelligence:

  1. Access your spiritual source, your intuition, free from social conditioning, and as close to the source of life that has brought you here. You are part of the intelligent universe independent of your upbringing; what else could be safer.
  2. Meet others in the here and now openly, without past judgments and future expectations. Such non-transactional and unconditional love brings the highest satisfaction.
  3. Expand from separateness to wholeness. The future isn’t about physical survival as long as possible; it is about meaning and connecting to the whole humanity (even future generations) and our soul during a lifetime. With such a connectedness, future worries dissolve.

Resources:

[1] Kelly, Y., Fitzgerald, A., & Dooley, B. (2017). Validation of the Resilience Scale for Adolescents (READ) in Ireland: a multi-group analysis. International Journal Of Methods In Psychiatric Research, 26(2).

[2] Waaktaar, T., & Torgersen, S. (2010). How resilient are resilience scales? The Big Five scales outperform resilience scales in predicting adjustment in adolescents. Scandinavian Journal Of Psychology, 51(2), 157-163.

[3] Howell, G. T., & Zelenski, J. M. (2017). Personality self-concept affects processing of trait adjectives in the self-reference memory paradigm. Journal of Research in Personality, 66, 1-   13.

[4] McCrea, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 81–90.

[5] Lazaridou, A., & Beka, A. (2015). Personality and resilience characteristics of Greek primary school principals. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 43(5), 772-791.

[6] Morizot, J. (2014). Construct Validity of Adolescents’ Self-Reported Big Five Personality Traits: Importance of Conceptual Breadth and Initial Validation of a Short Measure. Assessment, 21(5), 580-606.

[7] Shaw, P. s. (2016). Commentary: Mapping the young, resilient brain -reflections on Burt et al. (2016). Journal Of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 57(12), 1465-1466.

[8] Brendel, W. )., Hankerson, S. )., Byun, S. )., & Cunningham, B. ). (2016). Cultivating leadership Dharma: Measuring the impact of regular mindfulness practice on creativity, resilience, tolerance for ambiguity, anxiety and stress. Journal Of Management Development, 35(8), 1056-1078.

[9] Herman, J. L., Stevens, M. J., Bird, A., Mendenhall, M., & Oddou, G. (2010). The tolerance for ambiguity scale: Towards a more refined measure for international management research. International Journal Of Intercultural Relations, 34(1), 58-65.

[10] Bright, L. K., & Mahdi, G. S. (2012). U.S./Arab Reflections on Our Tolerance for Ambiguity. Adult Learning, 23(2), 86-89.

[11] Wilson, M. J., & Arvanitakis, J. (2013). The Resilience Complex. M/C Journal, 16(5), 17.

[12] Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

[13] Hartman, D., & Zimberoff, D. (2008). Higher Stages of Human Development. Journal Of Heart- Centered Therapies, 11(2), 3-95.

[14] Shullman, S. L., & White, R. P. (2012). Build Leadership’s Tolerance for Ambiguity. Chief Learning Officer, 11(10), 30-33.

[15] Einwanger, J. (2014). Wie riskant ist Sicherheit? (German). Pädiatrie & Pädologie, 49(4), 33.

Inspirational Leadership: Allowing the Soul to be Free

1.Inspirational leadership is a less studied, but holistic concept that centers within the presence of a whole mind that is aware of the being and doing of the self and others.

2.As an inspirational leader who gives ideas to others, investing time and effort into self-development is vital. One can only give what’s inside of him/her.

3.The human side of leadership is fundamental for an inspirational interaction between leaders and followers.

4.The most appreciated leadership aspect is the ability to inspire. The capacity to inspire does result in high employee commitment.

5.Inspirational leaders positively influence employee characteristics, such as independent thinking and pro-activeness. These qualities not only foster innovativeness and drive business performance, but also have a positive effect on followers’ happiness at work.

6.The quest for the ‘Why,’ critical thinking, purpose, passion, and caring emotional intelligence all come from within oneself. Self-awareness and autonomy is the foundation for accessing the source of inspiration. Allow your soul to be free.

7.Authenticity is the core of inspirational leadership. Authentic behavior arises when the ‘who you are’ and the ‘what you do’ are aligned. A genuine and ethical leader differentiates between the true needs of his/her inner being as compared to the many and often conflicting demands and conditions of society.

Slides from our 80% is Psychology event, December 12th, 2018 in Tokyo.

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Personality and Leadership Styles

 

Slides from our event, December 5th, 2018:

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The leader-follower relationship: Theories and related strategies

1.It is crucial to what role models children are exposed. Babies intuitively follow the eye gaze of their mothers. Little geese adopt the first seen subject after hatching as their caregiver (so-called IMPRINTING). And imprisoned children regard the prison guards as their parents to follow.

2.Followers emulate primarily other followers, not necessarily the leader. A movement is made by courageous followers who show others how to follow too. Therefore it is essential to nurture followers.

3.To form a positive social identity (as everybody seeks to), people use self-categorization. According to SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY, this risks leading to biased social comparison in which people tend to over-favorize one’s own group’s individuals’ positive characteristics while they stereotype and discriminate out-group members having mainly negative traits.

4.PROTOTYPICAL PERCEPTIONS cause people to think that the followers of the group they identify with can be persuaded by information, while out-group followers are mis-perceived as needing to be coerced by force.

5.Individuals who follow a leader against their own moral beliefs or good judgment may do so because they socially identify with the leader and consciously choose to follow his/her MORAL COMPASS.

6.Leaders in a mutually beneficial leader-follower relationship provide public goods to their followership. In return, followers voluntarily pay their costs to the leader in the form of prestige. When leaders gain more relative power, and their high status becomes less dependent on their willingness to pay the costs of benefitting followers, the SERVICE-FOR-PRESTIGE THEORY predicts that leader-follower relations will become more based on leaders’ ability to dominate and exploit.

7.In the phenomena of RECIPROCITY, we should differentiate whether it is about our genuine desire to return favors unconditionally based on feelings of thankfulness, or whether we get trapped into “marketing tricks” that let us act upon feelings of obligation and guilt.

8.A secure ATTACHMENT STYLE helps people trusting in lasting relationships, self-confidentially seeking out and providing social support that empowers themselves and colleagues alike. Insecurely attached people may cause stronger exclusion and exploitation of others.

9.Effective followers as fostered by TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP are those who are not only actively involved, but those who are also critically thinking to influence decision-making and change. Conformist followers who are not challenging the status quo contribute less to innovation and business performance improvement.

10.DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVENESS are vital also from a business perspective because better-connected networks enable more knowledge sharing that is favorable for innovation and improves business performance, which ultimately results in increased profitability.

11.REVERSE MENTORING allows any employees to assume, (informal) leadership roles. Reverse mentoring not only promotes bi-directional knowledge exchange, but it can help isolated older leaders to enter into more egalitarian relationships as well.

12.Utilizing CONSTRUCTIVE HUMOR may be an effective leadership strategy to win trust and commitment from followers as it bridges authority gaps and encourages the both-sided expression of positive emotions even when addressing difficult matters.

 

Slides:

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Leaders are not born, they are made

1.Whether in a formal position, at work or in private, our influence on others is more significant than we think. It may be your today’s courageous example that inspires somebody else even years later to do the right thing as well.

2.To be a leader means to be a continuous learner, and learners are readers.

3.While leadership theories as a relatively young science are becoming ‘smarter,’ there is also ancient and timeless leadership wisdom based on ‘kindness.’

4.Against persistent myths: Leaders are not born, they are made.

5.Do not let you blend by the ‘halo effect’ to conclude that people being good or powerful in one area might be consequently amazing in other areas too.

6.Adapt your leadership style according to the situation and development phase of the people needing direction, coaching, support, or delegation.

7.While transactional leaders make today better by rewarding good performance, transformational leaders are focused on making tomorrow better too.

8.For personal charisma, develop your emotional and social intelligence. As a visionary leader, learn how to visualize an attractive and ideal future that inspires others to follow their heart.

9.A majority of employees is disengaged. Increased participation is required to move beyond consumer behavior. Only with emotional and economic co-ownership will people assume more responsibility/accountability.

10.The administration of existing businesses often leaves little room for leadership that involves the creation of new meaning and change. Differentiate a position-based management career requiring short-term profitability goals versus a self-guided leadership desire to make a difference beyond market considerations in the long-term. You always can be a leader!

11.Always re-evaluate your beliefs in symbols and rules, don’t assume, don’t judge, and listen to people for who they truly are. That’s how you can empower yourself and others to become more free, understanding, and creative.

Slides:

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To be free requires freedom to learn

Thankful for another night being free to learn.

mathias-sager-freedom to learn

 

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The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. – Carl Rogers

10 takeaways from the 80% is Psychology session ‘Learning and motivation’. Tokyo, November 7, 2018.  

Presentation and discussions:

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Beyond the brain (Takeaways from 80% is Psychology)

Takeaways from our event on October 24th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. Please see also https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

Course 1 Session 4 Brain and Memory in Learning_v04_TAKEAWAYS

1.Know that the brain has different chemical processes for addictive pleasure experiences (neurotransmitter is dopamine) versus more long-term, empathic, and self-sufficient happiness-related behavior (neurotransmitter is serotonin).

2.Reduce distractions, especially to avoid over-dependence (addiction) to technology and social networks that interrupt your attention and learning.

3.Increase for how long you are able to stay offline and/or exclusively focused for better learning results.

4.Train your brain through exercising, diet, sleep, and alternative learning strategies.

5.Recognize how your consciousness requires the joint operation of brain, body, and the world. Brain activities may be necessary, but not sufficient preconditions for human behavior.

6.Experiment with stretching your sense of time and thinking of cyclical time. The soul/spirit wants to expand. As the earth is not a plate where you can fall off the edges, time may not be a simple line with birth and life ‘abysses.’

7.Do not fear the future. The brain takes even distantly thought threats for real and causes already now suffering, anxiety, and depression.

8.Do not fear loss. If we are only our physical brain, we don’t need to fear any regrets or pain after death. If there is something more permanent than our brain, death isn’t an existential threat to fear either.

9.Use intuition, imagination, and intention to ‘real-life check’ what really counts in everything you learn: Is it meaningful, unlimited, and purposeful? If not, it’s not worth it.

10.Read to activate your brain, increase the working memory’s capacity, and expand attention span.

 

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Social Learning & Developing a Growth Mindset (7 Takeaways from 80% is Psychology)

Takeaways from our event on October 24th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. Please see also https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

mathias sager psychology social learning growth mindset

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The Meaning of Work (and Cultural Considerations at the Example of Japan)

mathias-sager-meaning of work life quote.png

 

Introduction

Definition of meaning

Although ‘meaning’ isn’t reducible to a state-like single factor [1], the meaning of a concept (i.e., work) is related to how an individual does experience the significance of a situation that causes related inferential intentions to behave in a certain way [2]. While for many people the primary meaning of work lies in the earning of money for making a living, work provides also for values such as achievement, honor, and social relationships that determine how central the purpose of work is as compared to other life aspects like leisure, family, and community [3].

Economist and psychologist approach to work

The economist approach to work assumes a transactional exchange of time and effort for money. Non-financial job values have gotten limited attention by economists when examining work motivation and productivity. However, like for example, academics who have highest job security without the need to outperform, and who study beyond working hours without monetary incentives, are motivated by pure contribution to a subject, intellectual stimulation, and the satisfaction from a deliberate exchange of knowledge. Similarly, entrepreneurs enjoy the freedom of autonomous decision-making regardless of ‘pain’ put into it in the form of time and effort. Top talents have been found to prefer to work for social organizations rather than just for the best paying one [4].

Albeit the financialized political economy [5] ignores many aspects of work, such as its creative and interpersonal (social) value [6], the examples show that through psychological satisfaction, work can be a source of meaning beyond merely earning an income [4].

 

Cultural features of work meaning

Work creates culture, culture creates work

Culture as a guiding set of material, mental, and spiritual values that are based on a group’s experiences over time, creates meaning on how to behave and work [7] and, at the same time, its meaning itself is produced by work. Consequently, work should be considered a meaning-making construct of and within culture respectively as the producer and product of people’s mindset simultaneously [8]. A culture, therefore, can be only as rich and meaningful as the work that produces it is itself. 

“Adulthood” identity

In most Western cultures, there is today a less clear boundary between school and work life. In Japanese society though, there exists still a distinct point in time (usually beginning of April every year) that is marking the end of one’s student identity through entering the working world on full-time basis, which means to becoming a ‘shakaijin,’ i.e., a person of society/workforce [9]. Companies use recruitment practices and regular personal assessment throughout an adult’s work life to socialize [10]. Age-based reward and promotion systems also support this ongoing socialization process [15]. More recently, the traditional path to adulthood and ‘companyism’ has become more diverse, and the increasing number of part-time workers and contractors is shaping a changing understanding of the transition to adulthood and work life, one that takes place rather through action than through the acquisition of the ‘shakaijin’ status [10].

Masculine breadwinner identity

Company respectively work-led socialization reinforces gender roles. The breadwinning role is a priority in masculine identity. After the earthquake in 2011, men’s concern in Fukushima was less related to health than to the loss of their economic situation [11]. As in Japanese patriarchal culture, the father role is still primarily related to company job-related work, childcare duties are culturally assigned to solely to the female role (i.e., mother or grandmother), which provides a widespread potential for work-family conflicts. Shared family and work-related commitments, however, begin to be seen as essential to improve self-worthiness and a sense of meaningfulness in life [12]. Men who don’t exhibit a regular full-time job are more likely to marry late. Also, males with non-standard jobs have the lowest chance of getting children, an effect that is prevalent in Japan, but not in the US, for example [13].

Given the importance of work as a provider of status, identity, and meaning, it is understandable that Japanese commit with a lot of grit to it [14]. Over time, Japan’s values align more closely with global trends insofar as there is a great emphasis on the economic function of work as well [15]. Will that be enough meaning to engage the next generations of employees as well? Research is showing that lack of meaning at work is reducing work volition and work-related well-being significantly [16].

Economy of dignity and respect

A further question is how much a collectivist society may be able to reduce the dependency on others and society overall because over-dependency on the meaning of work risks to hamper dignity. The individual capacity to understand and position oneself as a fully recognized societal participant is vital to the notion of dignity as sourced from within. It is to hope that companies and society, not only in Japan, help to create dignity by de-stigmatizing of traditional personhood markers such as employment type and gender roles [17]. It’s maybe such a shift from status-focus to an action-focus orientation that also explains the changing meaning of ‘sonkei’ (Japanese for respect). Formal respect (e.g., towards age-based status) is increasingly recognized as a moral duty rather than an emotion built on genuine love and admiration [18].

Benefits from meaningful work

Psychological well-being

The benefit of employees perceiving their work as meaningful come as experiences of greater happiness, job satisfaction, team spirit, and commitment ([19]; [20]), thus reducing turnover rates and long-term sickness absences. This is because of the positive emotional bondage to the workplace that is an end in itself; a characteristic also called intrinsic motivation [21]. A greater sense of meaning in one’s work can be protective of burnout [22]. Eudaimonia is a term describing the sort of well-being that comes from living an engaging, meaningful, and fulfilling life [23]. Such a spirit at the workplace can be fostered by letting employees feel they contribute to something more significant in connection to a common connection and purpose [24].

Performance and physical health

Work meaning is also closely linked to better outcomes, such as increased income, quality of work, and job satisfaction [25]. Finally, a sense of purpose and sense of socially embedded growth in and from work (i.e., eudaimonic, meaning-based well-being versus hedonic, pleasure-based job-satisfaction [26]) was found to be associated with positive health outcomes, for example, by the means of supporting one’s physical resistance against adversities like inflammation or viral infection [27]. The Japanese type of stress-death, the so-called ‘karoushi’ (death from overwork) cannot be seen as a physiological phenomenon only. Rather death is caused by a vicious cycle of depressive feelings, and states of helplessness and unescapable despair combined with overwork [28].

Fostering meaning at work

A culture of mentorship and nostalgia

For a long time, job satisfaction research has been focused on an organizational perspective without sufficiently considering the role of the job on family, the standard of living, personal development, and on a worker’s larger worldview [26]. It is crucial to understand better situational contexts in which meaning ensues. Researchers found that the highest levels of meaning arise during spiritual practices and work hours, especially when performing social job components such as talking to people. As a general pattern, meaning occurs most during states of increased awareness [29]. An organizational listening climate may facilitate such an awareness [30], and acting as a self-reflective mentor might be a useful avenue of experiencing meaning at work [31]. Indeed, studies among nursing practices from different countries (e.g., Canada, India, Ireland, Japan, and Korea) confirm that leaders and a culture of mentorship are important for fostering meaning of work for both mentors and the mentees [32]. Also, the induction of nostalgia (i.e., remembering sentimental events from the past) can be used to meet employees longing for wistful affection to the past and may increase an employee’s perception of the meaningfulness of his/her organizational life and therefore the attachment to it [19].

The need for humanizing the economy

The hope that unfulfilling, unsatisfying, and even health and life-threatening mental stress at work will improve may be overshadowed by the continuing centrality of profit margins and efficiency in corporations. Neo-liberal development in Japan has shaken the traditions of secure long-term employment and a state responsible for citizens welfare. While the need for meaning at the workplace implies rather a humanization of the economy and society, capitalist marketization of everything is continuing. Corporate managers continue to exploit deregulated labor and capital and maintain insecurity and growing competition among workers. [33]. While rhetoric is sometimes trying to convince otherwise, understandably in the light of how grim the reality reveals, capitalism’s ultimate sense is about capital rather than humanity. In case of conflict, business goals come before anything else. Regardless of how meaningful employees perceive their job, no CEO is considered unsuccessful when driving profits within legal constraints and without caring especially about humanistically meaningful jobs. It’s, therefore, as an example, a non-surprising and common observation that such managers only after their retirement turn to a more dedicated anthropological role of contributing to society.

Meaning determines moral and ethical intentions and behavior

It seems that people need to find answers from within because the treadmill of the pursuit of consumption, pleasure, and economic success from work won’t fulfill the potential of greater meaning at work in many cases, regardless of how comfortable or tough the circumstances. It is each and everyone’s responsibility to fill the void of meaning through their sacred awareness, philosophy, and artful approach to put it into practice. And it is critical that we help others to do so too. The meaning of work should be considered simultaneously from an individual, organizational, and societal perspective, considering its psychological function for everyone. Meaning is the basis on which intentions ensue and according actions follow [2]. Consequently, claiming peaceful fulfillment in one’s work is an essential part of and prerequisite for moral and ethical behavior towards oneself and others alike.

 

References

[1] Leontiev, D. A. (2013). Personal meaning: A challenge for psychology. Journal Of Positive Psychology, 8(6), 459-470. doi:10.1080/17439760.2013.830767

[2] Liberman, S., & López Olmedo, R. (2017). Psychological Meaning of ‘Coauthorship’ among Scientists Using the Natural Semantic Networks Technique. Social Epistemology: A Journal Of Knowledge, Culture, And Policy, 31(2), 152-164.

[3] THE MEANING OF WORKING: JAPAN VS USA. (2011). Allied Academies International Conference: Proceedings of the Academy for Studies in International Business (ASIB), 11(1), 7-11.

[4] Cassar, L., & Meier, S. (2018). Nonmonetary Incentives and the Implications of Work as a Source of Meaning. Journal Of Economic Perspectives, 32(3), 215-238. doi:http://dx.doi.org.liverpool.idm.oclc.org/10.1257/jep.32.3.215

[5] Lapping, C., & Glynos, J. (2018). Psychical Contexts of Subjectivity and Performative Practices of Remuneration: Teaching Assistants’ Narratives of Work. Journal Of Education Policy, 33(1), 23-42.

[6] Gill, F. (2000). The meaning of work: Lessons from sociology, psychology, and political theory. JOURNAL OF SOCIOECONOMICS, (6). 725.

[7] Francis, V. F. (2018). Infusing Dispute Resolution Teaching and Training with Culture and Diversity. Ohio State Journal On Dispute Resolution, (Issue 2), 171.

[8] Bendassolli, P. F. (2016). Work and culture: Approaching cultural and work psychology. Culture & Psychology, 23(3), 372-390.

[9] Cook, H. M., & Shibamoto-Smith, J. S. (n.d). Japanese at work : politeness, power, and personae in Japanese workplace discourse. Cham : Palgrave Macmillan, [2018].

[10] Cook, E. E. (2016). Adulthood as Action Changing Meanings of Adulthood for Male Part-Time Workers in Contemporary Japan. Asian Journal Of Social Science, 44(3), 317-337.

[11] Morioka, R. (2014). Gender difference in the health risk perception of radiation from Fukushima in Japan: The role of hegemonic masculinity. Social Science & Medicine, 107105-112. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.02.014

[12] Hamada, l. (2017). Men’s unpaid domestic work: A critique of (re)doing gender in contemporary Japan. In M. Tsai, W. Chen, M. Tsai, W. Chen (Eds.) , Family, work and wellbeing in Asia (pp. 177-191). New York, NY, US: Springer Science + Business Media. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-4313-0_9

[13] Piotrowski, M., Wolford, R., Kalleberg, A., & Bond, E. (2018). Non-standard work and fertility: a comparison of the US and Japan. Asian Population Studies, 14(2), 116-136.

[14] Suzuki, Y., Tamesue, D., Asahi, K., & Ishikawa, Y. (2015). Grit and Work Engagement: A Cross-Sectional Study. Plos ONE, 10(9), 1-11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137501

[15] Karyn A., L., & Arne L., K. (1988). Age and the Meaning of Work in the United States and Japan. Social Forces, (2), 337. doi:10.2307/2579185

[16] Duffy, R. D., Autin, K. L., & Bott, E. M. (2015). Work Volition and Job Satisfaction: Examining the Role of Work Meaning and Person-Environment Fit. Career Development Quarterly, 63(2), 126-140.

[17] Pugh, A. J. (2012). The Social Meanings of Dignity at Work. Hedgehog Review, 14(3), 30-38.

[18] Muto, S. (2016). [The hierarchical semantic structure of respect-related emotions in modern Japanese people]. Shinrigaku Kenkyu: The Japanese Journal Of Psychology, 87(1), 95-101.

[19] Leunissen, J. M., Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., & Cohen, T. R. (2018). Organizational Nostalgia Lowers Turnover Intentions by Increasing Work Meaning: The Moderating Role of Burnout. Journal of occupational health psychology, (1). 44.

[20] Fourie, M., & Deacon, E. (2015). Meaning in work of secondary school teachers: A qualitative study. South African Journal Of Education, 35(3), 1-8.

[21] Clausen, T., Burr, H., & Borg, V. (2014). Does Affective Organizational Commitment and Experience of Meaning at Work Predict Long-Term Sickness Absence?. Journal Of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 56(2), 129-135. doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000000078

[22] Tei, S., Becker, C., Sugihara, G., Kawada, R., Fujino, J., Sozu, T., & … Takahashi, H. (2015). Sense of meaning in work and risk of burnout among medical professionals. Psychiatry And Clinical Neurosciences, 69(2), 123-124. doi:10.1111/pcn.12217

[23] Cake, M. A., Bell, M. A., & Bickley, N. (2015). The Life of Meaning: A Model of the Positive Contributions to Well-Being from Veterinary Work. Journal Of Veterinary Medical Education, 42(3), 184-193.

[24] Kinjerski, V., & Skrypnek, B. J. (2008). Four Paths to Spirit at Work: Journeys of Personal Meaning, Fulfillment, Well-Being, and Transcendence through Work. Career Development Quarterly, 56(4), 319-329.

[25] THE PATTERNING OF WORK MEANINGS WHICH ARE COTERMINOUS WITH WORK OUTCOME LEVELS FOR INDIVIDUALS IN JAPAN, GERMANY AND THE USA. (n.d). APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY-AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW-PSYCHOLOGIE APPLIQUEE-REVUE INTERNATIONALE, 39(1), 29-45.

[26] Rothausen, T. J., & Henderson, K. E. (2018). Meaning-based job-related well-being: Exploring a meaningful work conceptualization of job satisfaction. Journal Of Business And Psychology, doi:10.1007/s10869-018-9545-x

[27] Kitayama, S., Akutsu, S., Uchida, Y., & Cole, S. W. (2016). Work, meaning, and gene regulation: Findings from a Japanese information technology firm. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 72175-181. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.07.004

[28] Walter, T. (1993). Karoushi: Stress-Death and the Meaning of Work. Journal Of Business Ethics, (11), 869.

[29] Kucinskas, J., Wright, B. E., & Riepl, S. (2018). The Interplay Between Meaning and Sacred Awareness in Everyday Life: Evidence From a Daily Smartphone Study. International Journal For The Psychology Of Religion, 28(2), 71-88.

[30] Reed, K., Goolsby, J. R., & Johnston, M. K. (2016). Extracting Meaning and Relevance from Work: The Potential Connection Between the Listening Environment and Employee’s Organizational Identification and Commitment. International Journal Of Business Communication, 53(3), 326-342. doi:10.1177/2329488414525465

[31] Kennett, P., & Lomas, T. (2015). Making meaning through mentoring: Mentors finding fulfilment at work through self-determination and self-reflection. International Journal Of Evidence Based Coaching And Mentoring, (2), 29.

[32] Malloy, D. C., Fahey-McCarthy, E., Murakami, M., Lee, Y., Choi, E., Hirose, E., & Hadjistavropoulos, T. (2015). Finding Meaning in the Work of Nursing: An International Study. Online Journal Of Issues In Nursing, 20(3), 7.

[33] Gagne, N. O. (2018). “Correcting Capitalism”: Changing Metrics and Meanings of Work among Japanese Employees. Journal Of Contemporary Asia, 48(1), 67-87. doi:10.1080/00472336.2017.1381984

Hope, Living with Uncertainties, and Tolerance for Ambiguity

Summary. In the light of uncertain future threatening outcomes, present ambiguous information often is interpreted more negatively than it would be the case in a safe context. Black-and-white thinking is hindering positive deciphering of ambiguous information. People educated in open-mindedness and who have learned to tolerate ambiguity can better persevere in their tolerance even in situations of danger. Individuals’ dependencies on hierarchical power can cause closed mental systems that are increasingly unable to tolerate differences, ambiguities, and uncertainties. The promotion of hope might be a useful approach to reduce uncertainty intolerance that leaves more room for thoughtful and empathic decisions. It will be crucial how we instill hope and support our children to live constructively with uncertainties while retaining a high tolerance for ambiguity and open-mindedness as required to find the solutions sought for the benefit of all. What are your learnings from uncertain/ambiguous situations and how did you learn to develop a tolerance for it?

mathias-sager-hope-uncertainty-tolerance-ambiguity


The difference between ‘uncertainty’ and ‘ambiguity’

Intolerance of Uncertainty and Intolerance of Ambiguity often have been confused. Although IU and IA are overlapping concepts, they can be differentiated as follows: Intolerance of uncertainty refers future negative events that cause worries, and intolerance for ambiguity refers to adverse stimuli in the present [3]. Also, intolerance of uncertainty is built on the fact that information on outcomes of a situation is missing while intolerance for ambiguity is characterized by ambivalent or conflicting information available on the situation [5].

The effect of intolerance for uncertainty on tolerance for ambiguity

As per the discussion around the article https://www.mathias-sager.com/2018/06/12/tolerance-for-ambiguity-as-a-gateway-to-leadership-opportunity/ it became clear to me that tolerance for ambiguity respectively Intolerance for Ambiguity might be dependent a lot on context too. Thanks to all the involved for triggering that further research. While having assumed general business situations in times of relative peace in democratic countries in the last article, individual’s behavior in highly stressful (e.g., military) conditions in threatening environments needs to be looked at specifically, including both the concepts of uncertainty and ambiguity. I hope this article can contribute to that discussion.

Tolerance for ambiguity of an individual can be reduced in the context of threat through uncertainty, and especially when there is increased intolerance of uncertainty. In other words, in the light of uncertain future threatening outcomes, present ambiguous information is interpreted more negatively than it would be the case in a safe context [4]. Besides, not only the threat itself but the possibly stronger propagation of stereotyping (e.g., of enemies) might promote black-and-white thinking that is hindering an open mindset as required to positively decipher ambiguous information. People educated in open-mindedness and who have learned to tolerate ambiguity can better persevere in their tolerance even in situations of danger [7].

We generally have a choice between concern and cruelty. But as the example above showed, sometimes not-so-obvious factors influence our predispositions for one of the options because intolerance for an ambiguous situation, induced by threats of uncertainty, may trigger reactions of self-defense based on uncontrolled prejudices. Interviewing perpetrators in the Rwanda genocide revealed that individuals’ dependencies on hierarchical power caused closed mental systems unable to tolerate differences, ambiguities, and uncertainties [10].

Hope and resilience to endure uncertainty

In our times of continued pervasiveness of populations living in environments of war and disasters, resilience is a further important concept. Hope as related to resilience is enabling individuals to imagine a better future and to endure the present despite the uncertainty for such an achievement [9]. That way, the promotion of hope might be a useful approach to reduce uncertainty intolerance and consequently to increase the tolerance for ambiguity for a more open mindedness that leaves room for thoughtful and empathic decisions.

Growth versus safety orientation

Maslow (1968) made the point that we are oriented toward either growth or safety in our everyday lives and that a growth orientation is more favorable for psychological health and well-being [1]. When self-protection (needs) get reduced, self-awareness can arise and facilitate the appreciation of multiple possibilities in situations, which might be the stage of personal development where tolerance for ambiguity as the capacity to accept paradoxes starts to become feasible [2]. Systems of mass conformity, authoritarianism, and nationalism/racism are offered as a means for safety, unfortunately at the cost of growth possibilities through autonomy, creativity, and the use of reason though. After World War II this became evident and powerful movements toward an open mind of tolerance of ambiguity emerged that could cater to both safety and growth needs [8]. It is a function of societies to prepare the next generation for life, and it will be crucial how we instill hope and support our children to live constructively with uncertainties while retaining a high tolerance for ambiguity and open-mindedness as required to find the solutions sought for the benefit of all [6].

What are your learnings from uncertain/ambiguous situations and how did you learn to develop a tolerance for it?

 

References

[1] Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

[2] Hartman, D., & Zimberoff, D. (2008). Higher Stages of Human Development. Journal Of Heart-Centered Therapies, 11(2), 3-95.

[3] Grenier, S., Barrette, A. M., & Ladouceur, R. (2005). Intolerance of Uncertainty and Intolerance of Ambiguity: Similarities and differences. PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, (3). 593.

[4] Neta, M., Cantelon, J., Haga, Z., Mahoney, C. R., Taylor, H. A., & Davis, F. C. (2017). The impact of uncertain threat on affective bias: Individual differences in response to ambiguity. Emotion, 17(8), 1137-1143. doi:10.1037/emo0000349

[5] Kirschner, H., Hilbert, K., Hoyer, J., Lueken, U., & Beesdo-Baum, K. (2016). Psychophsyiological reactivity during uncertainty and ambiguity processing in high and low worriers. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry, 5097-105. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.06.001

[6] Einwanger, J. (2014). Wie riskant ist Sicherheit? (German). Pädiatrie & Pädologie, 49(4), 33. doi:10.1007/s00608-014-0152-4

[7] Bright, L. K., & Mahdi, G. S. (2012). U.S./Arab Reflections on Our Tolerance for Ambiguity. Adult Learning, 23(2), 86-89.

[8] Rohde, J. (2015). Review of The open mind: Cold War politics and the sciences of human nature. Journal Of The History Of The Behavioral Sciences, 51(3), 343-345. doi:10.1002/jhbs.21739

[9] Wilson, M. J., & Arvanitakis, J. (2013). The Resilience Complex. M/C Journal, 16(5), 17.

[10] Böhm, T. (2006). Psychoanalytic aspects on perpetrators in genocide: Experiences from Rwanda. Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 29(1), 22-32. doi:10.1080/01062301.2006.10592776

Tolerance for Ambiguity as a Gateway to Leadership Opportunity

mathias-sager-tolerance-for-ambiguity

The necessity for tolerance of ambiguity

Today’s professionals need to succeed in technology-rich environments [1]. Information age organizations are characterized by rapid change and uncertainty [2]. Progressing globalization poses challenges through ambiguities that are caused by ever novel, complex, and changing socio-economical, environmental, technological, and workforce factors [3]. The ability to tolerate ambiguity, therefore, is increasingly vital for successful leaders and employees alike [1].

Definition

“The tolerance for ambiguity (or intolerance for ambiguity) construct relates to a person’s disposition or tendency in addressing uncertain situations” [4, p.1]. The concept is also described in organizational behavior as “a coping mechanism for dealing with organizational change” [5].

Tolerance for ambiguity as a performance driver

Tolerance for ambiguity was found to support organizational performance drivers, such as [2]:

  • Mindfulness
  • Receptive for cross-cultural work and collaboration
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Tolerance for failure
  • Taking risks
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Monitoring self
  • Entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial performance, and
  • Managerial performance
  • A firm’s financial and market performance

Importance for (global) leadership

“Dealing with ambiguity is seldom taught, but higher-performing leaders tend to understand that uncertainty can be the gateway to opportunity” (6, p. 30).

Indeed, tolerance (or intolerance) for ambiguity influences one’s behavior and consequently leadership and decision-making style [4]. Studies have found that expatriates high on tolerance for ambiguity adjust and perform better in global work workplaces and cross-cultural environments [3].

Practicing tolerance for ambiguity

Leadership learning and development should adapt to the rapidly evolving business world, for example, by providing innovative learning strategies such as simulations [2]. Potential for improvement and learning progress related to tolerance for ambiguity can be measured with according psychometric assessments and accordingly monitored as a key leadership ability [3].

 

References

[1] Arlitsch, K. (2016). Tolerating Ambiguity: Leadership Lessons from Off-Road Motorcycling. Journal Of Library Administration, 56(1), 74-82. doi:10.1080/01930826.2015.1113063

[2] Brendel, W. )., Hankerson, S. )., Byun, S. )., & Cunningham, B. ). (2016). Cultivating leadership Dharma: Measuring the impact of regular mindfulness practice on creativity, resilience, tolerance for ambiguity, anxiety and stress. Journal Of Management Development, 35(8), 1056-1078. doi:10.1108/JMD-09-2015-0127

[3] Herman, J. L., Stevens, M. J., Bird, A., Mendenhall, M., & Oddou, G. (2010). The tolerance for ambiguity scale: Towards a more refined measure for international management research. International Journal Of Intercultural Relations, 34(1), 58-65. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2009.09.004

[4] Kajs, L. T., & McCollum, D. L. (2009). Examining tolerance for ambiguity in the domain of educational leadership. Academy Of Educational Leadership Journal, 13(2), 1-16.

[5] Judge, T.A., Thoresen, C.J., Pucik, V. and Welbourne, T.M. (1999), “Managerial coping with organizational change: a dispositional perspective”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 84 No. 1, pp. 107-122, doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.84.1.107.

[6] Shullman, S. L., & White, R. P. (2012). Build Leadership’s Tolerance for Ambiguity. Chief Learning Officer, 11(10), 30-33.

The Benefits of an Internal Locus of Control Personality

mathias-sager-locus-of-control

Summery benefits of an internal locus of control

  • Belief in one’s control over their life
  • Improved information acquisition
  • Better decision-making processes
  • Self-efficacy, job effectiveness, and higher achievement
  • Less risk of burnout
  • Generally increased happiness
  • Increase leadership adaptability

 

Rapidly changing leadership challenges

Leadership education has undergone a substantial shift. Life and working world seem to have become more complex with competing urgencies and over-dynamic developments of issues that challenge the required qualities of the next generation of leaders. Leaders today need to be able to find ever-new solutions and adaptations to challenging situations. This can be traced back, for example, to the growing world population and increased growth expectations in all areas of life and economy that cause growth issues in the following six areas [1]:

  • Space
  • Agricultural yield
  • Natural resource management
  • Energy production and consumption
  • Climate change, and
  • Global health

Organizations keep aspiring to increase profits, acting ethically, and promoting community and environmental sustainability. How will it be possible to optimize all these aspects while not doing it at the cost of others [1]? One answer is that it requires leaders who believe they can respond to these challenges in their own capacity, a concept that is coined as “locus of control.”

Definition of internal vs. external locus of control

Locus of control is about a person’s confidence that he or she can control events in their lives. Individuals with an internal locus of control have a strong sense of self-responsibility and that they have the power to change their lives. Externally-controlled individuals believe that they are not in control of their lives and it is instead chance, opportunities, and other individuals and events (i.e., the circumstances) that determine their destiny [2].

According to research, adverse consequences from an external locus of control are heightened levels of intolerance and anxiety, and finally higher burnout rates [4].

Internal locus of control, on the other hand, is associated with individuals gathering more information [3], which improves their decision-making process, effectiveness, and achievement. That internally-controlled individuals benefit from increased self-efficacy is in line with these results. For example, it was found that teams with individuals of relatively high internal locus of control are able of higher performance in a self-reliant way respectively without a leader [5]. Last but not least, people with an internal locus of control generally enjoy more happiness [4].

Adaptation of leadership style

Locus of control is one aspect of personality. Leaders with an internal locus of control can adapt their leadership style as required to achieve the leadership objectives effectively and efficiently [6].

What’s your locus of control?

LEt’s find out more about ourselves. You can find a couple of free online assessments related to locus of control. The following example structures the result along different dimensions of life, such as achievement, career, relationships, and health. Comparing different tests, you will see soon that it becomes quite clear how to distinguish between internal and external locus of control.

http://psychologia.co/locus-of-control/

psychologica locus of control test

Example result overview

 

References:

[1] Andenoro, A. C., Sowcik, M. J., & Balser, T. C. (2017). Addressing Complex Problems: Using Authentic Audiences and Challenges to Develop Adaptive Leadership and Socially Responsible Agency in Leadership Learners. Journal Of Leadership Education, 16(4), 1-19.

[2] Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2007). History of modern psychology. İstanbul: Kaknüs Psikoloji Yayınları.

[3] Boone, C., Van Olffen, W., & Van Witteloostuijn, A. (2005). Team locus-of-control composition, leadership structure, information acquisition, and financial performance: a business simulation study. Academy Of Management Journal, 48(5), 889-909. doi:10.5465/AMJ.2005.18803929

[4] Tas, I., & Iskender, M. (2018). An Examination of Meaning in Life, Satisfaction with Life, Self-Concept and Locus of Control among Teachers. Journal Of Education And Training Studies, 6(1), 21-31.

[5] Akca, F., Ulutas, E., & Yabanci, C. (2018). Investigation of Teachers’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs, Locus of Control and Intercultural Sensitivities from the Perspective of Individual Differences. Journal Of Education And Learning, 7(3), 219-232.

[6] Dumitriu, C., Timofti, I. C., Nechita, E., & Dumitriu, G. (2014). The Influence of the Locus of Control and Decision-making Capacity upon the Leadership Style. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 141(4th World Conference on Learning Teaching and Educational Leadership (WCLTA-2013), 494-499. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.05.086

[7] Cooper, C. (2010). Individual differences and personality (3rd ed.). London: Hodder Education. Retrieved February 3, 2015 from http://cw.tandf.co.uk/psychology//individual-differences- and-personality/

[8] Khan, E. (1998). Carl Rogers, More Relevant Today Than Freud. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from http://adpca.org/publicfiles/library/Carl%20Rogers%2C%20More%20Relevant%20Today%20than%20Freud_Edwin%20Kahn.pdf

[9] Saxena, M. K., & Aggarwal, S. (2010). Developing Emotional Intelligence in Children – Role of Parents. International Journal Of Education & Allied Sciences, 2(2), 45-52.

[10] Banai, B., & Perin, V. (2016). Type of High School Predicts Academic Performance at University Better than Individual Differences. Plos ONE, 11(10), 1-16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163996

[11] Salgado, J. F., Moscoso, S., & Berges, A. (2013). Conscientiousness, Its Facets, and the Prediction of Job Performance Ratings: Evidence against the narrow measures. International Journal Of Selection & Assessment, 21(1), 74-84. doi:10.1111/ijsa.12018

[12] Bertram, K., Randazzo, J., Alabi, N., Levenson, J., Doucette, J. T., & Barbosa, P. (2016). Strong Correlations between Empathy, Emotional Intelligence, and Personality Traits among Podiatric Medical Students: A Cross-sectional Study. Education For Health: Change In Learning & Practice (Medknow Publications & Media Pvt. Ltd.), 29(3), 186-194. doi:10.4103/1357-6283.204224

[13] Boyle, G. J., Stankov, L., & Cattell, R. B. (1995). Measurement and statistical models in the study of personality and intelligence. In D. H. Saklofske & M. Zeidner (Eds.), International Handbook of Personality and Intelligence (pp. 431–433).

Reverse Mentoring and its Benefits

mathias-sager-reverse-mentoring copy

Traditional mentoring

Self-improvement can be intimidating, and personal interactions with other, like in a mentoring relationship might be extraordinarily valuable [1]. In today’s fast-changing world the potential for mentoring, especially if creatively employed, might be an increasingly useful type of relationship [2]. Yet relatively few employees got into a company mentoring program [3]. Traditional mentoring generally takes place between a senior and a junior person in a similar career field [4], a relationship that is hierarchical and one-directional in the sense that the mentor in its expert position carries the power while the newcomer mentee is deemed to receive learning [5].

Reverse mentoring for diversity and organizational success

Reverse mentoring, on the other side, can be defined as “pair[ing] younger, junior employees as mentors with older, senior colleagues as mentees to share knowledge” ([6], p. 569). Jack Welch in 1999 made this approach popular when using it in GE [7]. It is the first time that four or five generation with distinct values work in the same workplaces and have to manage related generational tensions ([8]; [9]). Reverse (respectively reciprocal) mentoring may be promising transfer processes to support global expatriate female managers as they were found to receive less monitoring than male and domestic colleagues [10]. Cross-racial reverse mentoring is another example of engaging diversity to increase organizational success [6].

Benefits for the employees

Reverse mentoring was found to benefit older adults with reduced social isolation, improved self-efficacy, and increased technological understanding, and younger colleagues can progress their teaching and communication skills [11]. Intriguingly, by collaboratively fostering the understanding of each generations qualities, inter-generational intelligence can be built [9]. Vitality, enthusiasm, and creativity are predominantly represented by the younger, lower levels of organizations; not surprising when remembering the evidence that toddlers, in general, are creative, compared to the only 2% of 44-year-olds [12]. Reverse mentoring is promising in generating new ideas [13], which is vital in valuing the human capital and use it for innovation and competitiveness as required for learning organizations [14]. Lane (2018) speculates that this effect might be the more pronounced, the bigger and the more global a firm is [7].

HR supported implementation for improved employee retention

In a study in the field of academic medicine, it was found that half of the recipients of unsatisfactory mentoring did genuinely consider quit the firm, while positive mentoring experiences reduced this number to 14% [2]. In another study reverse mentoring predicted increased affective commitment potentially decreasing turnover rates among millennial employees [15]. While informal settings may take pressure away from younger persons mentoring their superiors [16], more formal mentoring provides for clear objectives and plans how to achieve them [17]. It is essential that older leaders get the courage [13] to open up, demonstrate humility, and enter into egalitarian relationships [18]. Ideally, such openness and the diversification of the workforce [19] through reverse mentoring is systematically supported by HR too [20].

References

[1] Bollig, J. (2016). What Company Do You Keep?. Superintendent, 32.

[2] Disch, J. (2018). Rethinking Mentoring. Critical Care Medicine, 46(3), 437-441. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000002914

[3] Bergelson, M. (2014). Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders: Innovative Approaches to Mentorship. People & Strategy, 37(2), 18-22.

[4] Ellis, R. (2013). Reverse mentoring: Letting millennials lead the way. T And D, 67(9), 13.

[5] Morris, L. V. (2017). Reverse Mentoring: Untapped Resource in the Academy?. INNOVATIVE HIGHER EDUCATION -NEW YORK-, (4). 285.

[6] Marcinkus, Murphy W. (2012). Reverse mentoring at work: Fostering cross-generational learning and developing millennial leaders. Human Resource Management, 51(4), 549-573. doi:10.1002/hrm.21489

[7] Lane, G. (2018). REVERSE MENTORING. Professional Manager, 7-8.

[8] Stephenson, G. (2014). Breaking traditions with reciprocal mentoring. Nursing Management, 45(6), 10-12. doi:10.1097/01.NUMA.0000449766.91747.77

[9] Meister, J. C. (2017). 4 Ways Companies Are Developing Millennials for the New World Of Work. Communication World, 1-3.

[10] Harvey, M., McIntyre, N., Thompson,  H. J., & Moeller, M. (2009). Mentoring global female managers in the global marketplace: traditional, reverse, and reciprocal mentoring. International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 20(6), 1344-1361. doi:10.1080/09585190902909863

[11] Breck, B., Dennis, C., & Leedahl, S. (2018). Implementing reverse mentoring to address social isolation among older adults. Journal Of Gerontological Social Work, 1-13. doi:10.1080/01634372.2018.1448030

[12] Walton, C. (2018). Lifting the lid on creativity. Training Journal, 24-26.

[13] Gardiner, B. (2015). RBA embraces competition and reverse mentoring to drive innovation. Cio (13284045), 1.

[14] Barrett, B. (2013). Creating Virtual Mentoring Programs for Developing Intellectual Capital. Proceedings Of The International Conference On Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organizational Learning, 47-53.

[15] Catrin, H. (2017). Affective Commitment to Organizations: A Comparison Study of Reverse Mentoring Versus Traditional Mentoring Among Millennials. Binus Business Review, Vol 8, Iss 2, Pp 157-165 (2017), (2), 157. doi:10.21512/bbr.v8i2.3666

[16] Pieters, B. (2011). Reverse Mentoring: Fresh Perspectives from Future Leaders. Profiles In Diversity Journal, 13(6), 68.

[17] Jane, B. (2014). Reverse mentoring becomes a two-way street: case study of a mentoring project for IT competence. Development And Learning In Organizations: An International Journal, (3), 13. doi:10.1108/DLO-01-2014-0001

[18] Thoman, R. (2009). Reverse mentoring: How young leaders can transform the church and why we should let them. Christian Education Journal, 6(2), 432-436.

[19] Holden, L., Rumala, B., Carson, P., & Siegel, E. (2014). Promoting careers in health care for urban youth: What students, parents and educators can teach us. Information Services & Use, 34(3/4), 355-366. doi:10.3233/ISU-140761

[20] Chen, Y. (2013). Effect of Reverse Mentoring on Traditional Mentoring Functions. Leadership & Management In Engineering, 13(3), 199-208. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)LM.1943-5630.0000227

Developing Human Capital: Success and Failure in Learning

mathias-sager-developing-human-capital.jpg

Psychologists in the past have conceptualized talent as an IQ-like cognitive ability [1], and practice focused on the view of human achievements to be limited by innate characteristics [2]. Human cognitive processing is indeed universally depending on sensory abilities, often biased and unaware of its own mechanisms, and limited to a relatively bounded range of working memory capacity [3]. However, these innate factors are not directly encoding skills, but the development of human expertise rather relies on whether or not and how experience and training are happening [4].

Deliberate practice

Ericsson, Prietula, and Cokely (2007) [5] describe “deliberate practice” [6], which is the direction of efforts towards learning something that can’t be done well yet as compared to an already familiar task. Deliberate thinking develops the concentration and accepting consideration of even painful feedback (people tend to over-estimate their skills and performance) to practice new things that are, therefore, more challenging to approach [5]. Learning outside of one’s comfort zone has been found favorable for reaping the benefits from brain plasticity allowing for ongoing cognitive health even in older age [7].

Cognitive skills

The development of cognitive abilities needs practice because it is, for example, relying on stored contextual information for improved anticipation and decision-making [8]. The so-called psychological support skills are more domain-general, can respectively have to be learned too though, improve motivation, attention, and anxiety, and comprise of mental abilities such as imagery, self-talk, relaxation skills, goals setting, and organizing [9]. Also, spatial abilities have been found supportive of developing expertise in science, technology, and engineering education [10].

Self-efficacy and motivation

Performance achievement requires self-confidence in one’s ability to learn. For any learning, it is vital to develop this life-skill of self-efficacy [11]. Self-efficacy helps develop a stronger sense of hope and purpose of life [12]. The attribution of failure to controllable factors (such as one’s development of abilities) causes individuals to think more positively, being more motivated and perseverant, and perform more successfully [13]. While available to all, proactive personalities might access self-efficacy more easily though [14]. The so-called Deep Layer Learning Motivation (i.e., the interest in internal motivation, as opposed to external motivators) is positively related to learning performance and self-efficacy [15]. All this taken together, the possibility of creating an upward spiral for developing human capital exists through the mutually reinforcing effects of positive self-belief, intrinsic motivation, and successful learning achievement.

Creating a supportive environment

How a student, including the gifted [16], perceives the supportiveness of his/her learning environment, e.g., colleagues, family, and teachers, influences the motivation for self-directed engagement [17]. This demonstrates the importance of a practice-friendly design of learning environments [18]. The Triarchic Model of Grit has been evaluated a valid and reliable tool for measuring talent development self-efficacy and has recently added the dimension of ‘adaptability to situations’ to the already established dimensions of ‘perseverance of effort’ and ‘consistency of interests’ [19]. This could be especially useful to assess a conception of talent (respectively ability) that is seen as a more multi-dimensional function of person-environment interactions ensuring that educational policies and programs are consequently designed and promoted as opportunities for all [20].

References

[1] Shore, B. M. (2010). Giftedness Is Not What It Used to Be, School Is Not What It Used to Be, Their Future, and Why Psychologists in Education Should Care. Canadian Journal Of School Psychology, 25(2), 151. doi:10.1177/0829573509356896

[2] Helding, L. (2011). Innate Talent: Myth or Reality?. Journal Of Singing, 67(4), 451.

[3] Mislevy, R. J. (2010). Some implications of expertise research for educational assessment. Research Papers In Education, 25(3), 253-270. doi:10.1080/02671522.2010.498142

[4] Kaufman, S. B., & Duckworth, A. L. (2017). World‐class expertise: A developmental model. Wires Cognitive Science, 8(1-2), 1-7.

[5] Ericsson, K. A., Prietula, M. J., & Cokely, E. T. (2007). The Making of an Expert. (cover story). Harvard Business Review, 85(7/8), 114.

[6] Howard, R. W. (2007). Learning curves in highly skilled chess players: A test of the generality of the power law of practice. Acta Psychologica, 15116-23.

[7] Train your brain: Practicing a new and challenging activity is a good bet for building and maintaining cognitive skills. (2018). Harvard Men’s Health Watch, 22(8), 3.

[8] Williams, A. M., Ford, P. R., Eccles, D. W., & Ward, P. (2011). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport and its acquisition: Implications for applied cognitive psychology. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25(3), 432-442. doi:10.1002/acp.1710

[9] Eccles, D. W., & Feltovich, P. J. (2008). Implications of domain-general “psychological support skills” for transfer of skill and acquisition of expertise. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 21(1), 43-60. doi:10.1002/piq.20014

[10] Kell, H. J., & Lubinski, D. (2013). Spatial ability: A neglected talent in educational and occupational settings. Roeper Review: A Journal On Gifted Education, 35(4), 219-230. doi:10.1080/02783193.2013.829896

[11] Mehmet Emin, T., Eyüp, Ç., & Murat, İ. (2015). Career and Talent Development Self-Efficacy Scale: Adaptation and Validation in the Turkish Population. International Journal Of Psychology And Educational Studies , Vol 2, Iss 1, Pp 1-8 (2015), (1), 1. doi:10.17220/ijpes.2015.01.001

[12] Lane, F. C., & Schutts, J. W. (2014). Predicting the Presence of Purpose through the Self-Efficacy Beliefs of One’s Talents. Journal Of College And Character, 15(1), 15-24.

[13] Rascle, O., Le Foll, D., Charrier, M., Higgins, N. C., Rees, T., & Coffee, P. (2015). Durability and generalization of attribution-based feedback following failure: Effects on expectations and behavioral persistence. Psychology Of Sport & Exercise, 1868-74. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2015.01.003

[14] Kim, H. S., & Park, I. (2017). Influence of Proactive Personality on Career Self-Efficacy. Journal Of Employment Counseling, 54(4), 168-182. doi:10.1002/joec.12065

[15] Xiaolu, Z., & Ling, T. (2017). Study on learning motivation for innovative talents of local normal universities. Journal Of Interdisciplinary Mathematics, 20(6/7), 1401-1405. doi:10.1080/09720502.2017.1382145

[16] Mullet, D. R., Kettler, T., & Sabatini, A. (2018). Gifted Students’ Conceptions of Their High School STEM Education. Journal For The Education Of The Gifted, 41(1), 60-92.

[17] Siegle, D., McCoach, D. B., & Roberts, A. (2017). Why I Believe I Achieve Determines Whether I Achieve. High Ability Studies, 28(1), 59-72.

[18] Sloboda, J. A. (2000). Individual differences in music performance. Trends In Cognitive Sciences, 4(10), 397-403. doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01531-X

[19] Datu, J. D., Yuen, M., & Chen, G. (2017). Development and validation of the Triarchic Model of Grit Scale (TMGS): Evidence from Filipino undergraduate students. Personality And Individual Differences, 114198-205.

[20] Barab, S. A., & Plucker, J. A. (2002). Smart people or smart contexts? Cognition, ability, and talent development in an age of situated approaches to knowing and learning. Educational Psychologist, 37(3), 165-182. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3703_3

Job analysis and its role in global talent management (Incl. insights from Japan)

1. The role of job analysis in Global Talent Management

2. Japanese tendencies and the focus on people vs. positions

3. Towards systematic talent identification

mathias-sager-talent-identification.jpg


1. The role of job analysis in Global Talent Management

The identification of talent is a central aspect of Global Talent Management (GTM) practices in multinational enterprises (MNE’s) [1]. Job analysis respectively competency analysis constitutes a required input for talent identification [2]. However, traditional job analysis that has represented a fundamental necessity for many HR activities seems to have become increasingly outdated [3]. Indeed, the number of current articles about job analysis is decreasing, while, in contrast, related fields such as competency modeling and work analysis describing more broadly and evolving organizational roles are trending [4]. The relative popularity of competency models may be explained by its alignment with organizational strategy and related performance goals [3].

The diminishing relevance of the use of job analysis results such as job descriptions, may come from the shift towards recruitment strategies that are led not by vacancies but rather by onboarding talents to be able to fill strategic roles when they arise. Therefore, rather than looking at existing job tasks, companies strategically may look, especially concerning their leadership competency profiles, for visionary talents who are well connected, cross-culturally skilled, and whose values match well with the firm culture [1].

Another essential consideration in evaluating the utility of job analysis in Talent Management is the level of detail that is elaborated to describe job requirements. While more holistic approaches result in more generic and abstract information convince through their cost-efficiency, the gathering of more detailed data is supporting the judgment process of what specifics contribute to the overall ratings of importance [5]. Researchers argue that the psychometric quality of competency models decline when judgments are based on broad job descriptions [3].

2. Japanese tendencies and the focus on people vs. positions

Japanese talent acquisition practices are strongly shaped by domestic approaches [6], which the interview results of this study also confirm. The identification of skills, abilities, knowledge and other characteristics (KSAOs) informs talents identification. Although methods such as, e.g., job analysis [1] focusing on jobs as a starting point for Talent Management are a promoted view [7], Japanese (multinational) companies tend to work the other way around, i.e., starting with people and then figuring out where to go with the workforce.

The concept of lifetime employment is still alive in Japan. When keeping people is an overarching goal of an organization, job descriptions, and missing job descriptions respectively would limit maneuvering room. Line managers’ expectation rather than job requirement and talent assessment documentation is determining who’s considered to be a talent suitable for what position. This relational focus on work, however, is an important aspect of complex job roles in general and everywhere [8]. However, a tendency towards influencing employee behavior subjectively from manager’s perspective versus a more objective reliance on job descriptions [9] was identified a specific feature of Japanese talent management.

While modern talent approaches may shift from input to a more output-oriented view [7], past achievements (e.g., education and type of university), as well as seniority, are decisive for the employee payments and promotions [10]. On the other side, HR positions often get occupied by staff who is rotated, even against their will. The interview repeatedly pointed to the need for more education to address the lack of HR and talent management capabilities as measured against good global practices and evidenced anecdotic by especially young talents who seem to expect more consideration for their career aspirations. As for job analysis, inexperience, in contrast to carelessness, would not necessarily have to result in low quality judgments though [5].

3. Towards systematic talent identification

Job analysis can uncover needs for improvement in work environments [11] and have positive effects on talent management, such as objective and talent-focusing development. Improper job descriptions leaving employees unclear about their duties and competencies can also lead to legal issues [12]. As, for example, Hitachi demonstrated, the implementation of systematic talent identification and evaluation can improve multinational operations [10]. Albeit talent selection by fixed job characteristics might have become an insufficient method [13], the usage of some work profiles to create good matches between individuals and jobs would be advantageous for staff and organizations alike [14]. A better (psychological) understanding of strategic jobs from an organization’s HR perspective would for sure help underline the importance of talent management [15] in achieving the increasingly complex and global organizational goals.

References

[1] Scullion, H., & Collings, D. G. (Eds.). (2011). Global talent management. Abington, UK: Routledge.

[2] Lucie, V., Hana, U., & Helena, S. (2016). Identification and Development of Key Talents through Competency Modelling in Agriculture Companies. Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, Vol 64, Iss 4, Pp 1409-1419 (2016), (4), 1409. doi:10.11118/actaun201664041409

[3] Stevens, G. W. (2013). A critical review of the science and practice of competency modeling. Human Resource Development Review : HRD Review, 12(1), 86-107.

[4] Sanchez, J. I., & Levine, E. L. (2012). The Rise and Fall of Job Analysis and the Future of Work Analysis. Annual Review Of Psychology, 63(1), 397-425. doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100401

[5] Morgeson, F. P., Spitzmuller, M., Garza, A. S., & Campion, M. A. (2016). Pay Attention! The Liabilities of Respondent Experience and Carelessness When Making Job Analysis Judgments. Journal Of Management, 42(7), 1904. doi:10.1177/0149206314522298

[6] Conrad, H., & Meyer-Ohle, H. (2017). Overcoming the ethnocentric firm? – foreign fresh university graduate employment in Japan as a new international human resource development method. International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 1-19. doi:10.1080/09585192.2017.1330275

[7] Henry Stewart Talks (Producer) (2012) David Collings: Talent management [Online video]. Retrieved from http://hstalks.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/main/view_talk.php?t=2206&r=587&c=250

[8] Schein, E. H., & Van Maanen, J. (2016). Career anchors and job/role planning: Tools for career and talent management. Organizational Dynamics, 45(3), 165-173. doi:10.1016/j.orgdyn.2016.07.002

[9] Sanchez, J., & Levine, E. (2009). What is (or should be) the difference between competency modelling and traditional job analysis? Human Resource Management Review, 19(2), 53–63.

[10] Yamaguchi, T. (2014). Standardizing HR Practices Around the World. Harvard Business Review, 92(9), 80-81.

[11] Ishihara, I., Yoshimine, T., Horikawa, J., Majima, Y., Kawamoto, R., & Salazar, M. (2004). Defining the roles and functions of occupational health nurses in Japan: results of job analysis. AAOHN Journal, 52(6), 230-241.

[12] Smith, K. J. (2015). Conducting Thorough Job Analyses and Drafting Lawful Job Descriptions. Employment Relations Today (Wiley), 41(4), 95-99. doi:10.1002/ert.21479

[13] Using Rough Set Theory to Recruit and Retain High-Potential Talents for Semiconductor Manufacturing. (2007). IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, Semiconductor Manufacturing, IEEE Transactions on, IEEE Trans. Semicond. Manufact, (4), 528. doi:10.1109/TSM.2007.907630

[14] Sharp, P. (2011). The LIFE Technique – Creating a Personal Work Profile. Electronic Journal Of Knowledge Management, 9(1), 57-72.

[15] Becker, B. E., & Huselid, M. A. (2010). SHRM and job design: Narrowing the divide. Journal Of Organizational Behavior, 31(2-3), 379-388. doi:10.1002/job.640

Operationalization of the Concept of Talent Management (TM)

mathias-sager-talent-management.jpg

Summary. Talent can be framed as either something that people possess (object approach) or something that people are (subject approach). Human capital may come from the historical meaning of a ‘talent’ in Latin and Greek of measuring the weight of a significant amount of gold or silver. Talent in the form of intrinsic learning motivation only realizes when sufficient encouragement and support exists. Inclusiveness is a feature of strength-based TM and related to egalitarian investments into the potential of all employees. Also, to foster the empowerment of all, a more holistic definition of talent that is complementary to ability measures and functions as a complex interactive process between innate and developed abilities, interests and motivations should be advised.

Object and subject approach to talent

There is a lack of a general definition of talent in the world of work [1], a term that seems to describe a phenomenon understood differently by academia and management consulting [2]. Although a lot of talent management (TM) research bases on anecdotes, literature review reveals some insight into how the meaning of talent emerged over time and what the difficulties in a clear conceptualization and operationalization are [3]. Gallardo-Gallard et al. (2013) contributed significantly to the clarification of the approaches to talent by framing talent as either something that people possess (object approach) or something that people are (subject approach).

Human capital (literally)

Historically, a talent in Latin and Greek was a measure of weight for a significant amount of gold and silver. This background might explain why the earlier approach to TM assumes an object approach [3] in which talent is popularized as an innate characteristic that one possesses or not [4]. It may also explain why ‘human capital’ is used synonymously with ‘talent’ [5].

Talent as a learning capacity determined by context

Unlike the fixed influence of genes on body size [6], elite achievement is rather the result of differences in experiences, training [4], (elite) education, and networks [7]. Nowadays, economic and social innovation needs drive the demand for talents. While talent itself may still be considered a non-learnable capacity [8], excellence and mastery can be achieved quite independently from such a notion of talent given the availability of suitable learning strategies and accessible knowledge [6]. Similarly, talent in the form of intrinsic learning motivation only realizes when sufficient encouragement and support exists [6]. This is consistent with the AMO (ability-motivation-opportunity) framework that stresses the importance of opportunities [3].

Inclusive subject approach to talent

Talent seen as people rather than attributes [5] comprises the inclusive subject approach, which includes all personnel of an organization in its scope and values different employee groups as contributors to the company [9]. Inclusiveness is a feature of strength-based TM and related to egalitarian investments into the potential of all employees. Critics of the inclusive subject approach refer to the increasing overlap of TM with strategic human resource management (SHRM). TM tends to be defined as more exclusive than SHRM by targeting top talents, and it legitimates the concentration of rewards to so-called A players through their high potential [3]. However, subjective appraisals favoring certain individual performances over the interests of customers and shareholders have presented another challenge to this approach of TM [10].

A more holistic definition of talent

Talent differs according to the field of application and the combination of cognitive resources. The traditional IQ measure does not say a lot about talent, why more complex profiles blending analytical, practical, and creative talent are suggested [11]. While academia focuses on theoretical descriptors of talent, the broader society is interested in the practical function of talent [12]. A definition of talent complementary to ability measures as a complex interactive process between innate and developed abilities, interests and motivations would provide for a more holistic concept of talent that meets different needs and allows the empowerment all [13].

References

[1] Tansley, C. (2011). What do we mean by the term “talent” in talent management?. Industrial & Commercial Training, 43(5), 266. doi:10.1108/00197851111145853

[2] Dries, N. (2013). The psychology of talent management: A review and research agenda. Human Resource Management Review, 23272-285. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2013.05.001

[3] Gallardo-Gallard, E., Dries, N., & Cruz, T. (2013). What is the meaning of talent in the world of work? Human Resource Management Review, 23(4), 290-300.

[4] Irvine, S. H. (1998). Innate talents: A psychological tautology?. BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, (3). 419.

[5] Adamsen, B. (2016). Demystifying talent management. [electronic book] : a critical approach to the realities of talent. Houndmills, Basingstoke Hampshire ;: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

[6] Ericsson, K. A., Roring, R. W., & Nandagopal, K. (2007). Giftedness and Evidence for Reproducibly Superior Performance: An Account Based on the Expert Performance Framework. High Ability Studies, 18(1), 3-56.

[7] Wai, J., & Rindermann, H. (2017). What goes into high educational and occupational achievement? Education, brains, hard work, networks, and other factors. High Ability Studies, 28(1), 127-145.

[8] The few, the proud and the brave: Finding, hiring and managing gifted employees in a time of talent wars. (2017).

[9] Stahl, G., Björkman, I., Farndale, E., Morris, S., Paauwe, J., & Stiles, P. (2012). Six principles of effective global talent management. MIT Sloan Management Review, 53(2), 25-32.

[10] Scullion, H., & Collings, D. G. (Eds.). (2011). Global talent management. Abington, UK: Routledge.

[11] Ferrando, M., Ferrándiz, C., Llor, L., & Sainz, M. (2016). Successful intelligence and giftedness: an empirical study. Anales De Psicología, 32(3), 672-682. doi:10.6018/analesps.32.3.259431

[12] Who decides what giftedness is?: On the dilemma of researching and educating the gifted mind in the light of culture, political ambition, and scientific dogma. (2013).

[13] Nijs, S., Gallardo-Gallardo, E., Dries, N., & Sels, L. (2014). A Multidisciplinary Review into the Definition, Operationalization, and Measurement of Talent. Journal Of World Business, 49(2), 180-191. doi:http://dx.doi.org.liverpool.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2013.11.002

Positive Change Through Rewarding Virtue vs. Punishing Non-Compliance

mathias-sager-reward-punishment-change-leadership-dragonetti

Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue; Virtue being a product not of the command of law, but of our own free will, society has no right whatsoever over it. Virtue on no account enters into the social contract; and if it remains without reward, society commits an injustice similar to that of one who defrauds another of his labor.

Dragonetti (1766)

 

Moments of instability bear the opportunity for change, and leadership determines whether it be a breakdown or breakthrough [1]. Many institutional environments experience turning points through “critical actors” rather than through “critical masses” [2]. To gain acceptance for change, leaders use different types of power, e.g., coercion, punishment, reward, legitimation, and expert information [3]; [4]. In contrast, to incentivize change through fear, dissatisfaction, or guilt [5], reward power is to offer a positive motivation in case of compliance, e.g., an increase in salary, a career promotion, or other privileges [4]. In the study of coach-athlete relationships, rewards and not punitive methods have shown positive effects on the athletes’ behaviors [6].

Dragonetti, an old Neapolitan economist, more than 250 years ago stated that “Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue [7]” [8]. Indeed, a system more based on incentives, e.g., in the form of intrinsic societal awards, would foster more cooperation with economic and civic benefits [8]. This may be required today more than ever. Longitudinal research found that as a result of modernization and westernization, mothers in San Vicente, Mexico, developed more self-promoting behavior at the cost of a more giving and rewarding (e.g., including encouraging failures) attitude only forty years ago [9].

Monetary compensation, social status, or ideological values all may provide for reward [10]. Equating satisfaction with perception minus expectation, unexpected rewards can impact individuals’ satisfaction disproportionately and therefore, motivate change [11]. Contingent rewards have proven to be an effective change leadership tool. However, it was also found that rewards need to be specified according to the situation respectively to the field of interest [12]. Strategic alignment of changes and related rewards is essential to create clear psychological contracts that define well what contributions to company performance the employees owe their employer and what they can hope for in return [13]. Of course, it is foolish to incentivize something and expect something else in return [14].

Because not all change is of equal ease to everybody, change efforts rather than change expertise/effectiveness should be rewarded [15]. Not only reward size, but also the sequence and frequency of incentivizing are influencing the future expectancy of further rewards in social-change theories [16]. Age may also be a factor for reward-sensitivity, as, for example, adolescents with typically lower inhibitory control capability attribute more value to reward [17]. In conclusion, the focus on rewarding desired behavior rather than punishing unwanted conduct might have several advantages, such as creating positive feelings, increasing acceptance of positive change, and enabling higher likability of the influencing change agents [4].

References

[1] Goleman, D., Barlow, Z., & Bennett, L. (2010). Forging New Norms in New Orleans: From Emotional to Ecological Intelligence. Teacher Education Quarterly, 37(4), 87-98.

[2] Helitzer, D. L., Newbill, S. L., Cardinali, G., Morahan, P. S., Chang, S., & Magrane, D. (2017). Changing the Culture of Academic Medicine: Critical Mass or Critical Actors?. Journal Of Women’s Health (15409996), 26(5), 540. doi:10.1089/jwh.2016.6019

[3] Richardson, R. C., & Evans, E. T. (1997). Options for Managing Student Behavior: Adaptations for Individual Needs.

[4] Raven, B. (2008). The bases of power and the Power/Interaction Model of Interpersonal Influence. Analyses Of Social Issues & Public Policy, 8(1), 1-22.

[5] Schein, E. H. (2014). Organisational culture and leadership (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

[6] Stenling, A. (2016). Sports coaches’ interpersonal motivating styles: longitudinal associations, change, and multidimensionality.

[7] Dragonetti, G. (1766) Delle virtu’ e dei premi, Napoli.

[8] Bruni, L., Panebianco, F., & Smerilli, A. (2014). Beyond Carrots and Sticks: How Cooperation and Its Rewards Evolve Together. Review Of Social Economy, 72(1), 55-82.

[9] Garcia, C., Greenfield, P. M., Montiel-Acevedo, D., Vidaña-Rivera, T., & Colorado, J. (2017). Implications of 43 Years of Sociodemographic Change in Mexico for the Socialization of Achievement Behavior: Two Quasi-Experiments. Journal Of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(4), 611-619. doi:10.1177/0022022117698573

[10] Van de Rijt, A., Kang, S. M., Restivo, M., & Patil, A. (2014). Field experiments of success-breeds-success dynamics. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America, 111(19), 6934-6939. doi:10.1073/pnas.1316836111

[11] Aiken, C., & Keller, S. (2009). The irrational side of change management. Mckinsey Quarterly, (2), 100-109.

[12] Richter, A., von Thiele Schwarz, U., Lornudd, C., Lundmark, R., Mosson, R., & Hasson, H. (2016). iLead-a transformational leadership intervention to train healthcare managers’ implementation leadership. Implementation Science, 111-13. doi:10.1186/s13012-016-0475-6

[13] McDermott, A. M., Conway, E., Rousseau, D. M., & Flood, P. C. (2013). Promoting Effective Psychological Contracts Through Leadership: The Missing Link Between HR Strategy and Performance. Human Resource Management, 52(2), 289. doi:10.1002/hrm.21529

[14] DuBois, C. Z., & Dubois, D. A. (2012). Strategic HRM as social design for environmental sustainability in organization. Human Resource Management, 51(6), 799. doi:10.1002/hrm.21504

[15] Cappelen, A. W., & Tungodden, B. (2003). Reward and Responsibility: How Should We Be Affected When Others Change Their Effort?. Politics, Philosophy And Economics, 2(2), 191-211.

[16] Lao, R. C., & Llorca, A. L. (1982). THE EFFECT OF SEQUENCE AND SIZE OF REWARD ON EXPECTANCY. Journal Of Social Psychology, 117(1), 93.

[17] Walker, D. M., Bell, M. R., Flores, C., Gulley, J. M., Willing, J., & Paul, M. J. (2017). Adolescence and Reward: Making Sense of Neural and Behavioral Changes Amid the Chaos. Journal Of Neuroscience, 37(45), 10855-10866.

 

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer: Inspiration for the Leader in All of Us

mathias-sager-wayne-dyer-leadership-quote.png

Father of Motivation and Sage of Maui

The life and work of author and speaker Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who died at the age of seventy-five in 2015, provides the opportunity to reflect on leadership from a holistic perspective beyond a specific organizational setting or national politics. Dyer’s many best-selling books on the practical psychology of personal development towards a positive transformation for all of humanity [1] brought him the nickname of the Father of Motivation by his fans [2]. Writing and meditating on Maui on Eastern Philosophies like Taoism, the Sage of Maui covers the self-conscious wisdom category of the self-help genre [3]. Like in the book ‘Wisdom of the Ages,’ Dyer’s messages focus on virtuous love, inspiration, and patience as found in Confucian, Christian, and Thoreauvian teachings [4]. Having written ‘Erroneous Zones,’ one of the most famous books of all time [5], and if leadership is about influence, Wayne Dyer was an enormous leader in influencing masses around the globe [6]. Although not limited to an organizational goal setting context, the topics Dyer was promoting represent the core of the study of leadership and address change, motivation, inspiration, and influence [7].

A practical, humorous, personal, and sometimes too self-confident leader?

As a Welch proverb puts it aptly: “The hand will not reach for what the heart does not long for” [8], p. 38. In that sense, Dyer’s messages speak empathically to the core desires of people through practical, humorous [9], and personal [6] stories, presented as inviting offerings rather than pushing rules. Practical intelligence is of high importance for leaders [7]. Indeed, Dyer focused on outcome rather than intellectualization [13], one possible reason why he chose the career of an independent writer rather than continuing his university job, which he saw limited to producing papers for the sake of a small self-serving academic community [14]. It was Dyer’s high self-confidence that allowed him to, for example, tell “the shocking truth” he was so convinced about publicly [10] and therefore intuitively take required risks to advance his growth as a leader [11]. Dyer got accused of plagiarism of Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) [12]. However, he did seemingly ignore what other people think of him [4] and unwaveringly continued his mission.

Life transitions and openness to experience

Assertiveness is the candid expression of one’s desires, opinions, and feelings and may help to get the recognition that is a powerful human motivator [7]. Wayne Dyer’s public exposure of his style in writing and speaking may have also reflected a personality tendency of extraversion. In the US, extraversion is a personality trait showcased to create a societal image of openness and friendliness [15]. It is therefore difficult to say how much Dyer’s demonstration of extraversion is part of his working brand to reach the goal of spreading his messages as much as possible, and how much, in comparison, he enjoyed his extended writing retreats on Maui from a more introvert perspective. In any case, according to his children’s accounts, he naturally loved to lecture and entertain others with his vast knowledge [16]. Extraversion and openness to experience are personal characteristics that strongly relate to leadership effectiveness [17]. Wayne Dyer’s openness to experience may be well seen in his demonstration of mindfulness that allowed him to accept new and demanding situations, to further develop his self-image, to promote changes, and to let go of attachments [18]. Dyer went through different career transitions and lived over time with three wives and eight children [3]. He also underwent a spiritual transformation in his “meaning stage” of life. These may be lessons of what Dyer framed in his film ‘Shift’ as “What was true in the morning has become a lie in the afternoon” [19].

Between charismatic mentorship and rescuer syndrome?

Regardless of the leadership position, it seems that the opportunity to help others’ personal growth, rather than sources of satisfaction like power, salary and status [7] represented the main motive of meaningfulness for Wayne Dyer throughout his life. Dyer spent parts of his childhood in foster homes. However, he described himself as seeing and remembering mainly the positive aspects, what helped him already at the age of three to help others in overcoming their despair [10]. It may be this “naturally” developed talent of soothing others distress that adds a charismatic quality [20] to Dyer’s personality. In his thirties, Dyer visited his father’s grave and could resolve his anger towards that person who had left a wife with small children in a difficult situation. This pivotal event of forgiveness might not only have unlocked Dyer’s potential as a writer [10] but may have been necessary not to let the urge to mentor other people become a self-serving compensation for emotional and psychological issues; which would also be known as the rescuer syndrome [21].

Holistic leadership: inspirational motivation, trust, and loving service

Like Einstein and Emerson, Wayne Dyer believed in the Transcendentalist ideas [3] of the human soul being able to intuitively connect to the spiritual truth that creates a collective consciousness [22], itself capable of reconstructing the world [23]. Wishing to lead a God-realized life [24] and occasionally named a self-help guru [25] and pied piper of the movement [5], Dyer could be suspect of suffering self-perceptions of grandiosity [20]. However, Dyer believed, and that’s the position of equality that might have been so appealing to his diverse readers, that the divine realm is available to all [1]. Such an uplifting vision is inspirationally motivating and contributes to a new-genre leadership style that emphasizes an environment of trust and feelings beyond what is necessarily found in transformational leadership [26]. Dyer may be an example of one of the newest leadership theories, that is authentic leadership, and which is true to its values [27]. As a friendly, amiable, assertive, and serving ‘soft leader’ [28], Dr. Wayne W. Dyer lived the messages he taught [6]. It is loving service and unselfish love that makes holistic leadership [29].

 

References

[1] About Dr. Wayne Dyer. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.drwaynedyer.com/about-dr-wayne-dyer/

[2] Percival, J. (2004). Desire vs intent. Nursing Standard, 19(7), 27.

[3] Valiunas, A. (2010). The Science of Self-Help. New Atlantis: A Journal Of Technology & Society, 2885-100.

[4] Bauman, A., Post, M., & Cooper, P. (2000). Catching Up With…Wayne Dyer. Runner’s World, 35(9), 15.

[5] Rogers,  J.  (2015, September 1). Wayne Dyer, author of ‘Erroneous Zones’, dies at 75. Retrieved from http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/sep/01/wayne-dyer-author-of-erroneous-zones-dies-at-75/

[6] Inam, H. (2015, August 31). Wayne Dyer On Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/hennainam/2015/08/31/wayne-dyer-on-leadership/#5a62d3ea3012

[7] DuBrin, A. J. (2015). Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

[8] Zufelt, J. M. (2016). Leadership vs Pushership. Leadership Excellence Essentials, 33(9), 37.

[9] Robbins, T. (2015b). Dr. Wayne Dyer interview with Tony Robbins | Power Talk! | Part 2 of 2 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXpBW4w9ZnY

[10] Robbins, T. (2015a). Dr. Wayne Dyer interview with Tony Robbins | Power Talk! | Part 1 of 2 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBYO4M_c9UY

[11] Singh, A. (2009). Leadership Grid between Concern for People and Intuition. Leadership & Management In Engineering, 9(2), 71-82. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)1532-6748(2009)9:2(71)

[12] Wayne Dyer. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 1, 2018, from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Dyer

[13] Manifesting What You Want. (2016). IDEA Fitness Journal, 13(7), 111.

[14] Dyer, W. (2015) I Can See Clearly Now, Hay House, Inc.

[15] King, F. (2012). RUNNING DEEP: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. NATIONAL REVIEW -BRISTOL CONNECTICUT THEN NEW YORK-, (11). 45.

[16] Anders, N. (2016) Wayne Dyer: Himmel auf Erden ist kein Ort, es ist eine Entscheidung.: Zusammenführung der 55+ höchsten Lebensweisheiten von Dr. Wayne Dyer (German Edition). Freiheit. JETZT! Kindle file.

[17] DeRue, D. S, Nahrgang, J. D., Wellman, N., & Humphrey, S. E. (2011). Trait and behavioral theories of leadership: An integration and meta-analytic test of their relative validity. Personnel Psychology, 64, 7-52.

[18] Day, D. )., & Gregory, J. ). (2017). Mindfulness as a Prerequisite to Effective Leadership; Exploring the Constructs that Foster Productive Use of Feedback for Professional Learning. Interchange, 48(4), 363-375. doi:10.1007/s10780-017-9307-0

[19] Waghmare, H. [Good Health 24/7] (2015). The Shift – Wayne Dyer – Positive Attitude – English [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfT8Ts6wPFs&t=732s

[20] Doyle, M. E., & Smith, M. K. (2001). Classical models of managerial leadership: Trait, behavioural, contingency and transformational theory. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional_leadership.htm

[21] De Vries, M. K. (2013). Are you a mentor, a helper or a rescuer?. Organizational Dynamics, 42(4), 239-247. doi:10.1016/j.orgdyn.2013.07.001c

[22] Williamson, A., & Null, J. W. (2008). RALPH WALDO EMERSON’S EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY AS A FOUNDATION FOR COOPERATIVE LEARNING. American Educational History Journal, 35(1/2), 381.

[23] Barney, J. B., Wicks, J., Otto Scharmer, C., & Pavlovich, K. (2015). Exploring transcendental leadership: a conversation. Journal Of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 12(4), 290-304. doi:10.1080/14766086.2015.1022794

[24] Altersitz, K., Bechtel, B., & Mullin, D. W. (2010). ‘Father of Motivation’ offers advice for the self-actualized life. Ocular Surgery News, 28(4), 15.

[25] A Tribute To Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. (2015). Leadership Excellence Essentials. p. 5.

[26] Bonau, S. (2017). How to become an inspirational leader, and what to avoid. Journal Of Management Development, 36(5), 614-625. doi:10.1108/JMD-03-2015-0047

[27] Billsberry, J., & North-Samardzic, A. (2016). Surfacing Authentic Leadership: Inspiration from “After Life”. Journal Of Leadership Education, 15(2), 1-13.

[28] Rao, M. (2013). Soft leadership: a new direction to leadership. Industrial & Commercial Training, 45(3), 143-149. doi:10.1108/00197851311320559

[29] Dhiman, S. (2017). Holistic leadership : a new paradigm for today’s leaders. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Compassionate leadership: If we all ‘lead,’ we don’t need ‘managers’ anymore

There are significant differences between leadership and management

In our contemporary world both leadership and management may be required and co-exist in different situations, but the identification and understanding of their distinguishing features is important if we want to use both of them effectively and eventually think about shifting the emphasis towards managers who are real leaders too.

Having been in diverse leadership and/or management positions in educational institutions and schools, business and consulting firms, military/public service organizations, media and communication practices, as well as leisure/sports clubs and civic movements over the last 20 years, I’ve reflected on the difference between leadership and management from many different angles. I’m always coming back to the conclusion that the concepts of leadership and management are not as related as the popular interchangeable use of the terms might suggest.

The ultimate market-participating organizational SMART goals versus dreams and visions

Like a path is leading to a different place, or a sheep can be led into a stable, human leadership can be defined as leading something or somebody towards a certain direction. It is said that leadership requires meaning; meaning that is represented and communicated through goals. Although managerial and leadership goals should always be believed to be achievable, the type of goal formation process and quality of goals themselves involved in leadership and management differs significantly [1].

A leader typically is self-guided by intuition and his intimate moral understanding, while a manager is hired by the board of directors pursuing shareholders interest for securing maximized return on their investments. In case of doubt or conflict, the financial interests always have to succeed over other values in a for-profit organization. Manager’s success is measured by how accurately they achieve the business goals. The more long-term, the less predictable the attainment of goals becomes. Leadership tolerates not directly measurable long-term results [1]. Managers, in contrast, for above reasons preferably are to set short-term goals. To ensure that goals are as clear and realistic as possible, so-called SMART goals are commonly used in the corporate world, which ought to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Leaders may not only not have SMART goals, but even allow more vague dreams and visions that are often requiring significant imagination.

There is a difference between the concept of power based on formal authority and influence through inspiration

One broad approach is to define leadership as the interpersonal dimension of management that comprises the “ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals” ([2], p. 5). Frequently leadership gets confused with authority, seeing power as being based on formal roles. The formal assignments of a manager or officer let people notice legitimacy and comply with instructions because of fear of negative consequences in case of non-compliance [3]. When saying that leadership requires power, it is, however, not this authoritarian capability of incurring costs (for example in the form of punishment) for the people who refuse to obey [1]. Authoritarian regimes as examples of tight leadership in the form of control and prescription are generating poor results for the people. Instead, it is the ability to inspire for a voluntary fellowship by unforceful means that is resulting in individual prosperity, well-being, and peace through personal self-determination and fulfillment. Real leadership allows people self-leadership.

Leadership goes beyond the leadership aspects practiced in business administration

When the sum of the leadership structures followed by society is called culture [1], then the sum of management structures of market-participating organizations can be seen as the economy. Leaders create culture through the leadership structures they leave behind ([1], p. 11), while managers build administrations through the organizational patterns they establish. This thinking is in line with the terminology used in managerial education, where the top courses for aspiring or acting executive officers award for the title of the Master of Business Administration. Increasing parts of businesses consist of technology and digital resources, whereas human aspects tend to be further pushed into the background. Emotional and organic elements are taken out from the management of resources in favor of optimal planning accuracy. Again, although there may (but doesn’t have to) be some deal of leadership involved as well in steering a business, a real leader would never be reduced to be an administrator in that sense.

The irrelevance of leadership in the management of expectations

As Rudy Giuliani once put it, leaders first figure out what’s right, and then explain it to people, as opposed to first having people explain it and then just saying what they want to hear ([2], p.3). Indeed, managers tend to behave in a manner more or less in line with the management style endorsed within their country, industry or organization [4]. Firms choose new executives whose values are consistent with their own. If an executive is not filling the role as expected, he will be replaced with somebody who adheres more closely to expectations. From that perspective it is essential to have a rider, to use this metaphor, who holds the reins of a horse put before a cart, but any other rider who follows the relatively simple rules how to guide a horse and carriage can carry them as well. You can even let a child play the carter. It can be observed that the horse’s, respectively the organization’s personality, to come back to the organizational context, is actually more important than the “leader” himself [2].

Leaders emerge when there is an urge for change or the need to resolve a crisis or conflict

Leadership creates change, often of dramatic dimensions, such as when completely new market dynamics are developed, societal perceptions are shifted, or more diverse cultures emerge. Management on the other hand often is concerned about maintaining predictability and order [2]. Let’s think about why and how changes are managed in organizations. A big part of organizational administration deals with tracking changes to protect the status quo of power balances and interests of stakeholders and resources that contribute most to the profitable business. Such times of contentedness and stability are not calling for leaders whose strength is to move towards widening the range of beneficiaries. It is the time of crisis, in which leaders emerge. Managers monitor operational excellence of their subordinates typically in periods of economic strain. Charisma arises when there are heightened levels of distress among an increasing number of people that can be of not only financial but also psychological nature, constituting an individual and collective crisis of meaning that demands answers. If the problem is sought to be solved by somebody else, the ground is fertile for people to follow a leader who convincingly directs toward a comforting solution [3]. It has to be carefully evaluated whether these promises are meaningful and serving the common good, or whether there is an overemphasis on leader-reliance for whatever reason. Leaders are also required in situations of conflict. Conflict as the opposite of leadership is characterized by the absence of a functioning leader-follower relationship, typically because of disagreements related to a common course of action [1].

There is little leadership required and even possible in corporations

Following the argumentation so far, it is conceivable to suggest, assuming a bit a black and white perspective, that in organizations, at ordinary times there is little leadership required and even possible. Instead, what is required is a disciplined management that administers an organization to stay on track without visioning any significant change that would require leadership. Abraham Maslow regarded leaders as self-actualizing individuals who are self-determined, independent of culture, and following their inner guidance to help their fellow humans. For a leader of such qualities a narrow corporate environment likely would be unsatisfying at least and possibly over longer or sooner and would also be ethically conflicting. Executives of big corporations have contributed to the mistrust in corporate ethics due to their perceived focus on self-promotion and excessive greed. What seems to be required is more compassionate leadership in the service of others respectively in the view of the broader society and humanity beyond an institutional context [5].

The difference between moral, ethics, and professionalism

Ninety-nine percent of the global wealth is controlled by the top one percent of richest people. The issue is that this causes, for example, the daily death of tens of thousands of innocent children who are left without the necessary means to survive, such as food or health care. Unfortunately, as long as it is a tolerated practice that the already highly concentrated wealth is invested almost exclusively in opportunities that further accentuate this income and wealth inequality, there is little hope that compassionate (moral) and ethical leadership will prevail. Corporate social responsibility struggles to demonstrate a positive impact on the single measure bottom-line of financial profit generation, why it remains not much more than an afterthought. On the one hand, public relations and marketing communications of organizations increasingly use language that includes terms like ‘sharing,’ ‘love,’ ‘community,’ and ‘better world for all,’ to brand themselves socially towards consumers who are willing to pay a premium for such labels. This is true even for industries such as tobacco and arms. On the other hand, corporate ethics training is poised to be mere professional instruction on how to operate within legal constraints without jeopardizing business performance. This may be diligent management to serve capital, but not leadership to improve the human condition.

Shaping the role of genuinely great managerial leadership

Again, in all kinds of organizational settings, there may be a necessary mix of administrative and leadership qualities at work, suggesting a combined role of a ‘managerial leader’ [2].

Maybe the understanding of managerial leadership as based on self-actualization could further evolve to increasingly focus the help of other people in the organizational context while also not losing sight of the fairness towards and the well-being of people in the broader national societal and even global humanitarian context. Importantly, we should not forget that such a broadening of the benefits of leadership requires courageous first-/early-moving followers, who lead others not to remain passive bystanders but to support change towards growth and development of all actively. Asking managerial questions for organizational survival is foundational, but without further questioning on what basis, to what extent, and at whose cost, it is difficult to see real leadership added to management. The more inclusive and compassionate questions get expanded to the scope of all humanity, the greater the leadership involved.

In the current economic and competitive context, cooperation may indeed risk losing some battles in the field of short-term inter-organizational rivalry. However, already today more than ever, genuinely great managerial leadership also can become a competitive advantage and an opportunity for priceless emotional rewards for our all well-being. I think we are on the way to return to a more overall life-relevant philosophical understanding of leadership in which everyone’s full human potential is embraced. In that sense, leadership beyond management is relevant and possible for all of us. If we all assume a managerial leadership role, we don’t need managers anymore. Let’s take the chance.

References

[1] Paschen, M., & Dihsmaier, E. (2013). The psychology of human leadership: How to develop charisma and authority. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

[2] DuBrin, A. J. (2015). Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

[3] Doyle, M. E., & Smith, M. K. (2001). Classical models of managerial leadership: Trait, behavioural, contingency and transformational theory. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional_leadership.htm

[4] Dorfman, P., Javidan, M., Hanges, P., Dastmalchian, A., & House, R. (2012). GLOBE: A twenty year journey into the intriguing world of culture and leadership. Journal of World Business, 47(4), 504–518.

[5] Soni, B., & Soni, R. (2016). Enhancing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Effective Leadership. Competition Forum, 14(2), 259-263.