[caption id="attachment_80" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Bill and the Japanese team"]Bill and the Japanese team[/caption] By William Seidman How do we transform an organization’s good managers into real leaders? I’ve done this in East Asia, South America, and the UK. Now I’m in Japan. We’re doing these sessions in Japanese and English with a lot of translation since (unfortunately) I can say only “good morning” and “thank you.” But teaching leadership turned out to be a real challenge. The concepts underlying great leadership are more abstract than a typical best practice, and their meaning in Japanese culture is different than in US culture.In addition, 80% of the conversation had been in Japanese. The team identified “self-awareness” as one aspect of being a great leader using a Japanese word that does not have an English equivalent. For most of the sessions I was not able to really guide the system. But the group, having pretty quickly figured out the discovery process, took over and began to manage it themselves. There would be intense discussions in Japanese and then, “Bill, enter this in the system.” The group became self-facilitating, which is very cool and all I could have hoped for. Worth reading: “Japan: Doing Business in a Unique Culture,” by Kevin Bucknall. And here’s the Japanese kanji symbol for “self-awareness,” or “jikaku”: [caption id="attachment_94" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Jikaku - the Kanji symbol for "self-awareness""]Jikaku - the Kanji symbol for "self-awareness"[/caption]]]>

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