Sunday, August 26, 2012

Organizations are more than systems

With many theories and corporate programs, many executives view an organization as a simple group of systems. However, organizations are nothing without the people within them. In order to be a greater leader, one needs to understand the environment, culture and people within in them.

Understanding the environment takes listening and observing. The environment is more than the physical attributes. It is the stimuli that people use to interact with each other. Listening allows one to gain an understanding of the positives and problems of the workplace. Observing allows one to see the organization more objectively.

The culture of the organization may assist a leader in successfully navigating the company and completing task needed to move the company forward. Many times, individuals try to follow the strict rules of the company to complete tasks, but run up against multiple walls. This happens not because the rules and guidelines are flawed, but the culture of the organization is such that it has it owns unspoken guidelines for completing tasks

More so, respecting and interacting with the individuals within organizations will serve as greater tools within leadership development. Dealing with people only because of title, age and experience will function as a hindrance to job production. Furthermore, it must be a high level of respect for individuality and job personality. Many times others try to force someone to perform duties in a specific style which may be opposite of the person’s natural ability. It is essential that individuals have a moderate level of autonomy when completing some tasks. Also, interactions with various individuals within the organization are required for everyone to understand the processes of the organization from top to bottom.

In conclusion, leadership is more than positions and experience. More so, the organizations that leaders operate in are more than a system, but the people within them.  Understanding the organization’s environment, culture and people within in a company may assist a leader in the further development of the company as a whole. 

~ Ronnie O'Brien Rice, PhD Candidate, 2013

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tatemae 建前 or Honne 本音? You are society?

In present day society, many are forced to choose tatemae rather than honne or vice versa. Before you become confused any further, tateame (Japanese) is the desire of oneself and Honne is the societal obligation (García, 2010). How does this fit into the framework of leadership? These two different mindsets intertwine into leadership in various aspects: cross-cultural competencies, leading individuals who operate within these two realms, etc. As the world around becomes more accepting of different cultures, it is important that many take personal and professional steps to lead others from various cultures to successfully contribute to society in a fashion that one would see fit. Also, as a leader, it would be advantageous for one to understand how others may view the world. Some may deal with an issue of operating within themselves and the rest of the world. Two primary extremes may arise out of the thoughts of honne and tatemae: (1) a person operates solely by their desires, and (2) a person operates only to please others. It is imperative that one seeks to engage the world in a manner that allows for growth with oneself as well as the people that they interact with on various levels. Essentially, we all are a part of society and it is vital to understand that the world is bigger than oneself.

García, H. (2010). Honne and Tatemae. Kirai: A geek in Japan. Retrieved from