While America has long been a world business leader, that doesn’t mean that the standard practices of American business management are necessarily the only or even the ideal way to run a company. Different businesses have different demands and understanding how other managers conduct their business can be useful information, even if you choose not to implement their policies. Here are five of the most interesting leadership styles from around the world.
The especially high prevalence of younger workers educated abroad has created a system of business practices that are more individualistic and often anti-authoritarian in Latvia. This creates a non-hierarchical system with few top-down leaders but plenty of individualized managers who each focus on their own disciplines.
The Amicable Hierarchy of Norway
While Norway may resemble American business on the surface with its tiered levels of management, managers and bosses tend to be not as segregated and isolated from the rest of the workforce as they are in the United States. Business runs on the assumption that managers were assigned their positions for a particular reason, and their opinions are usually treated with seriousness further up the chain of command. Staff, similarly, will generally have free and open access even to the highest ranking executives in the company.
Germans are well known for running a tight ship, and that’s largely reflected in their corporate and leadership culture. If anything, the hierarchy apparent in German companies is even tighter and stricter than in America. Every single link in the chain serves a purpose, and information flows upward in an orderly manner. While this level of rigidity may be restrictive to more free thinking workers, German companies still tend to put a high emphasis on collective opinions, which is sometimes better facilitated by the orderly game of telephone that takes place.
In stark counterpoint to the egalitarian nature of Nordic leadership, the boss is the king of the castle in many French businesses. While this means that they can often overlook the opinions of their managers and circumvent concerns of specialists, the rigidity of this structure ensures that many French leaders are uniformly well-informed about a wide range of issues within their business.
Swedish businesses are run on the premise that an open and honest discussion yields the best results, so decision making tends to be decentralized from the leader and focused on intense and meandering conversations that pull in members throughout the company. There’s no tight chain of command cordoning off information, but the genial and inclusive approach to decision making means that conclusions are reached more slowly.