The place where I had completed my internship is Bank of China, which is one of the most influential and high-ranking banks in China, even in the world. Its long term reputation and credibility obtained from the global industry, customers and widely recognized authority. According to some global financial rankings in 2003, based on its core capital among the bankers, the bank of China was the 15th largest bank in the world and the largest and powerful capital bank and the second largest commercial Banks in Chinese banking industry.
The Bank of China has been recognized by the European Currency for 9 times as the best bank in China and documented by the Fortune Magazine for 15 consecutive years as one of the world 500 strong enterprises. In 2002, the Global Financial Magazine from the United States named it as the best trade finance bank of China and China’s best foreign exchange bank. The Far Eastern Economic Review evaluated it as the top 10 enterprises which provided the best products and services in China. Chinese Leadership Model In China, because of the long history and thick traditional thoughts, Chinese leadership model has its own feature.
The traditional relationship between leader and subordinates is like monarch and ministers in the history. The subordinates comply with the leader completely. This kind of conventional Confucian culture, which originated from thousand years age, makes long-term influences on China and formed that management styles in Chinese enterprises of the following two characteristics (“Culture of China,” 2009). Those are even quite strange for some leaders and employees with international background. The Chinese style leaders are not like empowering to their subordinates to carry out the work.
In this established hierarchy, the leader has great power, while the subordinates only have the strong minds of relying on the leader; so that the distance between the powers is rather large and the subordinates are not good at making the decision. The Chinese leadership normally executes the special decision-making style. This decision-making style is concentrated on collectivism and democratic centralism. This kind of leader model has its two sides. They can lead more easily, get the decision more quickly, finish the job more effectively, and get more clear responsibility.
However, it is restricted by one person’s ability, knowledge, and energy. Also, the supervising system is more necessary and seriously for this kind of leadership model, because it is quite easy to form the personal arbitrary in this situation, which will make even disaster to the organization. As a result, in the Bank of China, if the leader is in this leadership styles, their department always has the fast reaction and most efficient completing rates. Western Leadership Model In America, its special culture that the spirit of freedom and equality also makes great impact on the leadership models for managers in America.
They think freedom and equality are their natural powers and inviolability that God gives (Yang, 2009). These two significant authorities are also advocated by the Enlightenment thinkers Rousseau’s writing in 18th century and are defended by “The Declaration of Independence” of the United States in 1776 (“United States Declaration of Independence,” 2009). Thus, lives, liberty, the pursuit of happiness are most important things to both leaders and subordinates. As a result, the western leadership models emphases on individualism and equality. In western leadership model, the leader will give subordinates more powers in the daily working.
Sometimes, they will offer them an objective and let them to finish it by themselves. The leaders just evaluate them with the result, not the way they achieve the goals. The leaders also believe the people who are most familiar to the job and who has the greatest experience are the best person to complete the goal. Therefore, in the Bank of China, if the leader operates western leadership styles, every department’s managers has their power, no matter how many subordinates belong to the department, the managers can decide everything in the department by themselves.
The leaders with western leadership models also have their own decision making styles. They are more subjective and usually believe themselves in the decision-making. Under this leadership, leaders always want to get the decision that everybody likes, which also has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that leader can collect all kinds of the opinions and satisfies everybody that includes the leaders and subordinates, so the knowledge and ability can get complementary. It can help to ensure and maintain the overall interests for the whole organization.
The disadvantages are that the efficiency is low, the action is slow, and responsibility is not clear. Usually the decision-making is emergence for the market or the accident, so that it is not easy to make such a democratic decision for the organization. Therefore, at the Bank of China, if a department leader has a western leadership background, their groups are usually most active and enthusiastic. The Improvement about Chinese and Western Leadership Model From the elements discussed above, the combination of the two leadership models is necessary and beneficial (Mills, 2005).
In the modern competitive economic environment, the monarch-minister structure and individual decision-making system are not suitable and useful, especially to the large corporations, like the Bank of China. Chinese leadership model can be more harmony that the subordinates can have more power and take some responsibility for the organization. Actually, in some cases they have more knowledge and experience than the leader and they can make a better decision, and in some emergency, the subordinates can also make a great decision from their views.
Also, the leader can save more time and energy to manage the organization from a high level, which makes him not need to do every detailed tasks and just do the things he need to finish. Western leader can listen to more information from the others before they make a decision. The democratic decision that made by more minds can reduce the risk and get better result especially in the modern complicated environment because even a little mistake the leader makes will destroy the company and get serious disaster.
Actually, Chinese leadership model represent the eastern leadership way, while American leadership model represents western one. The studying from each other can also help the people from two countries adjust the other kind of the leading style. To sum up, the bilateral learning can help both of the leadership models to be better and the organizations become more wonderful.
The combination of Two Leadership styles for the Bank of China The differences between culture and thinking ways produce the differences between the Chinese and western leadership model. In order to reduce the contradiction between these two leadership models and develop their own leadership models, the combinational study from each other and the understanding with each other are quite necessary and helpful, because the eastern and western styles can complement each other excellently. In fact, from the development of the leadership theory, the same developing process can also be found.
According to the most influential definition from American scholar John Maxwell, leadership is kind of influence, which does not depend on the access to power positions, but comes from interaction between the leaders and followers (Kouzes & Posner, 2007).
However, there is still an argument in the area of leadership research as to whether they are born as a leader or they are cultivated by their environment. In the early stage of leadership theories, like the leadership features theory, and behavior theory; leadership comes from the leader’s intelligence, individual ability, and personal status given authority. With further study of the leadership theory, a growing number of scholars believe that leadership is influenced more by the leaders’ continuous efforts to learn and cumulative practice.
Instead of a previously generated practice, leadership is also required to be cultivated. Therefore, leadership training and learning are extremely important for the successful leader. Dave Palmer, the Former president of West Point even said he can train anyone but a schizophrenic to become the world’s greatest leaders (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Great leadership can be learned and cultivated by the environment and experience through a lot of strength training, which, on the other hand, increases the difficulty and uncertainty of building the leadership.
The reality sometimes does not meet the theory or the hopes and expectations for the things people did. Hence, some bank leaders will be confused due to their lack of success because they do not receive a return on their diligent efforts towards their goals. Bank leaders, in current situation, need to deal with the environmental factors and reconcile the Chinese and Western leadership styles. There are a number of qualities that the best combinational leaders should have in managing their development and improving Chinese financial organizations, which are also the suitable points that future chaos will challenge.
First of all, great leaders in Chinese financial institutions should be the leading persons who can set up a suitable mission, a vision, and an organizational value according to the Chinese culture and global environment, as well as different situation of each organization. These principles should be the core value that all the organizational behaviors should follow. It also means that bank leaders should concentrate on principle-centered leadership. The effective leadership is based on the understanding and operation of basic principles (Covey, 1992).
Secondly, the bank leaders need to determine the new directions or goals based on the organizational missions and environment and phase of development. One of the most important ways for leaders to envision the future is to look back to any organizational preceding events and learn from the past. The past can make a person gain deeper understanding about the experience and capability and get a better picture of the future. It is these past events that can change organizational development and influence people’s choices in even an unknown way.
For example, the experience from 2008 financial crisis is the most significant lesion that bank leaders should pay attention to. Furthermore, rather than coming up with good ideas, they need to learn to promote good ideas with their constituents (employees and team members). Successful leaders should be able to connect their points of view about the future to the hopes and dreams of their constituents. Some effective ways leaders can use to initiate their mission, includes creating an environment of collaboration, teaching and strengthening others to model the values through consistency between words and actions (Kouzes & Posner, 2007).
Thirdly, in commercial bank, leadership is the strength of cohesion. Successful leaders should show appreciation for team members’ contributions and require them all to be devoted. It is because there is too much fast changing information outside the bank, which the leaders cannot cover by themselves. The leaders should learn to get support, cooperation, and commitment from the subordinates to get more necessary information and get close to their goals. Therefore, they need to improve social skills, such as compassion, listening, and counseling.
They should also use clear, simple, and contagious ways to communicate and manage their employees. They also need to trust others and motivate others to participate in the organizational operation. They should encourage their subordinates to improve their capabilities in order to reach their full potential (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Fourthly, the conflicts model and competitive systems are also necessary in commercial bank systems because they help to improve cohesiveness and competition among the employees. However, managed conflicts
need a healthy and positive team value and culture. The result of the healthy conflict will promote more refined solutions to the problem in a team, although this level is not so easy to control. An individual is faced with many challenges in interpersonal relationships. One of the most important challenges is successfully dealing with conflict. Each of us has a set of values and beliefs that influence our behavior. When conflict arises, the fear of damage to a relationship, the fear of reprisal, or the fear of reprisal may prevent one from utilizing training in conflict resolution.
Sometimes an individual feels a reluctance to pursue a grievance because they do not feel they have enough evidence to allege a charge against a fellow employee (Rowe, 2009). Fifthly, Chinese bank leaders should create a wonderful international culture, motivating and encouraging people to trust each other, to overcome obstacles, and to reach the company’s current and future goals. In this culture, the significance of credibility and the characteristics of leaders should also be emphasized. To summarize, bank leaders should have the four leadership roles which includes leader, manager, organizer, and executor.
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