Approaches to authority and decision making are not the only ways in which cultures differ, but they are arguably the most important in the leadership context. And if international managers confound the two, they will make mistakes in adapting their leadership styles to the cultures and situations at hand. The management approach that works in Lagos won’t be as effective in Stockholm.
When you’re in transition, your role is likely to shift —whether it means tackling new job responsibilities, working in a different environment or reporting to a new boss. Sometimes it can even be all of the above!
Regardless of your particular situation, it’s a crucial time. In fact, Watkins argues that impressing your manager and colleagues within the first 90 days is not only essential to your success in your current role but also for your overall career.
Dear Annie: I am an engineer by training, currently running a big chunk of North American manufacturing for a global Fortune 500 company. Recently, the head of my division has been sounding me out about moving either to Spain, to tackle some productivity issues at a couple of plants we have there, or else to one of several Latin American countries where we are starting up new ventures. (I assume that these particular options are on the table because I’m of Hispanic extraction and already speak fluent Spanish.) I’m having trouble deciding whether to jump at either of these offers, and if so, which one. Moving overseas for a year or two would certainly be challenging and interesting. But friends of mine, who took similar assignments and later regretted doing so, warn me that I’d be “out of sight, out of mind” back at headquarters and that this would ultimately trip up my career. What do you think?