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Challenges Faced by the Multinational Companies – Leadership Qualities continued to (Part 3 of 4)

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© 2017 Martin Zafirov, PhD Student, New Bulgarian University (F29144)

 Edited by: Yara Mohamed, Mona Timor Shehata

Published by: Ahmed Mohamed Hassan

In an article about the issues of leadership in the new environment in which the business activity of the organisations takes place (and particularly within the multinational organisations), Katherine Leviss[1] describes the main skills (qualities), which every innovative leader possesses: First, the innovative leader never describes themselves as such. This quality probably is due to the fact that the new type of leaders prefer to be evaluated by their employees (by the teams they lead) instead of declaring themselves as innovators on their own. In my opinion, this quality works in favour of the leaders, since every case of over-the-top declaration of their own greatness lowers their value in the opinion of their team.

Second and third, some of the qualities which the new leaders possess are that they rarely talk about innovations and they do not focus the attention on the fact that their actions lead to the creation of innovations. Within the context of the previous explanation, these two qualities leave the impression that the new leaders prefer to focus on their work instead of “advertising” it before the team, the owners, and the public. In other words, they let the end results “speak” for their achievements. The fourth really specific quality of the new type of leaders is that they do not proclaim each new or different result of their activity an innovation. Achieving a result which is different from the one set as the desired one, or achieving a better result, or using a different approach for solving the particular problem, is not always analogous to an innovation, i.e., it cannot be seen as the same as an innovation.

Last, but not least, innovation is not seen as a strategic marker, managerial philosophy or a driving force. This statement seems logical based on the thoughts presented earlier. But I believe that it is not possible to achieve development (improvement) and better results (in terms of quality and quantity) if the organisation does not grant innovational activity the place it deserves. In an environment characterised by constant change and increasing complexity, an organisation, especially a multinational one, cannot adapt with and achieve long-term success without focusing its attention on innovations. They should be seen as a competitive advantage for the company, but not as the only certain source of success.

Another interesting main point in Leviss’ article is the comparison between what the innovative leaders do better compared to the leaders who are not innovators. Innovative leaders manage risk more successfully than normal leaders who are not innovators. Innovative leaders also are much more successful at seizing opportunities for success; or in other words, they succeed at achieving higher efficiency of the business activity of the company. Innovative leaders demonstrate more non-innovative leaders. Innovative leaders perform their actions with much more courage and belief compared to other leaders and they see the strategic perspective for the development of the organisation for which they work.

The order and accuracy of the work of the innovative leaders is the area where they show weaker results than the leaders for whom innovation is not natural. The reasoning made regarding the necessity of a new type of leaders in an environment of accelerating globalisation and the necessity of them performing their actions within multinational companies, as well as an overview of the arguments already presented on this issue, lead to the conclusion that there are six main principles which the new type of leader should follow. These principles may be summarised as follows:

  • The leader should be able to notice the context of the change (as history and development).
  • The leader should be able to identify the challenges before the change.
  • The new leader should be able to regulate the distress, to understand the pain which change is causing, but also to provide confidence at the same time.
  • The new leader should be able to keep the teams constantly concentrated on the adaptation issues.
  • The leader should implement subsidiarity – decisions should be taken at the specific managerial and functional level.
  • Last, but not least, the leader should also provide support for the persons who point out the internal contradictions within the organisation.

To summarise regarding the qualities which the new leader should possess: His  or her activity should be in many aspects. First, the leader should look for balance and efficiency in personality management through self-knowledge and reflection—these are aggregations of the impacts of the business environment on the personal experience and the action approaches. Second, the actions of the leader should be aimed at managing the organisation in a way that will lead to building structures and communication networks within it while taking into account their impact on the organisation’s development. Third, a successful leader should be able to deal with the different circumstances which arise in the interaction between the organisation and the different “worlds” around it by acting from the position of the “edge” between these two zones. A fourth quality which the leader should possess is managing the relations with different subjects in order to be able to develop cooperation, self-control, and self-assessment within the company. Last, the leader should be able to deal successfully with managing changes (active interaction between the personality management, organisational management, dealing with circumstances and dealing with managing of the changes as a constant entanglement of reflections, interactions, and specific actions for sensing and spreading the change).

List of References:

  • Graham-Leviss, K., The 5 Skills That Innovative Leaders Have in Common, published on: 20 December 2016, available at: https://hbr.org/2016/12/the-5-skills-that-innovative-leaders-have-in-common
  • [1] Graham-Leviss, K., The 5 Skills That Innovative Leaders Have in Common, published on: 20 December 2016, available at: https://hbr.org/2016/12/the-5-skills-that-innovative-leaders-have-in-common

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – Diversity, Inclusion and the Holistic Wellbeing approach

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

A working environment characterized by greater Diversity & Inclusion has more chance of being a place where new ideas and perspectives flourish: inclusive businesses benefit from those who feel very included and motivated in the Organisation. Companies with more culturally and ethically diverse Teams are 33% more likely to see better than average profits (McKinsey, 2017).

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 brought to light the need and urgency to put individuals and interactions over profits within the panel session dedicated to Creating a Holistic and Inclusive Wellbeing Strategy. The panel has been moderated by Chris Cummings (CEO Sonas Events) and joined by Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader – EY), Funda Kalemci (Global Leader, Diversity & Inclusion – Nielsen), Mimi Nicklin (Author and Empathetic Leader) and Öykü Kayaalp (Diversity & Youth Programs Professional – Vodafone Turkey).

According to the valued speakers, true Diversity and Inclusion have to create a sense of belonging, breaking the Mental Health Stigma and Empathy. So Emotional wellness turned out to be the core of those two elements: in fact, it generates wellbeing and inclusiveness at all levels.  

The covid-19 pandemic showed employees how frustration and emotional fragility affect performance and inclusion, even within the most well-structured and diverse Team. Filling the gap between self-expectations, dealing with such an unexpected “new normal” and an Organisation’s goal, proved to be a complex challenge that both employees and leaders had to face suddenly. Creating a work-life balance has been crucial to supporting the new “Smart Working Model” imposed by the pandemic.

How to maintain and strengthen a sense of belonging through screens and virtual work-spaces?

Irada Aghamaliyeva and Öykü Kayaalp firmly agreed on “connecting and communicate through a deep understanding of various cultures at the Workplace, whether physical or from home”. It is key to set a balanced environment where employees feel totally appreciated and valued – the reduction of work stress highlighted a decrease of stereotyping and a more open-mindedness towards intercultural awareness. It can be faced and strengthened through coaching sessions and encouraging employees to speak out freely and fearlessly about what makes them feel inadequate. Break the workplace Mental Health Stigma thanks to self-acceptance is the first step to creating a more inclusive culture, relation and support between employees and leaders.

What role plays Empathy in this framework and why it so crucial in an inclusive culture?

Empathy is the pixie dust that bridges the Diversity and Inclusion gap. Practicing and nurturing Empathy within the Organisations is the starting point from which Leaders and employees should consider the value of their interactions. Listening – not just hearing – is crucial: so often in HR and Leadership people listen to respond, but they don’t really stop and focus on what’s the inner need on the other side. To empathize is the choice to understand, it is a skill that we all can own through practicing kindness and active listening. “True Diversity and Inclusion has to begin with Empathy because if we don’t understand each other, how are we going to integrate?” Mimi Nicklin

Also, when employees are largely satisfied of their experience within the Company on an empathetic level, they are more likely to report high intent to stay with the Company and be high performers. “At Nielsen IQ we have a Global Wellness Framework lead by global HR Teams that works on four pillars: physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing and environmental & social wellbeing”, Funda Kalemci affirmed, highlighting the importance of Mental Health within Global companies.

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021

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The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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