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張貼者:2015年4月4日 上午8:06Jim Hwang   [ 已更新 2015年4月4日 上午8:07 ]

Why Chinese Leaders Have Higher Number of Derailer


A client of ours is a Fortune 500 company operating in China for over two decades. Through a project we collaborated, we found that the Hogan HDS profiles of their Director level of leaders had indicated over 5 high risk behaviors and some even over 7 out of a total of 11 HDS derailers.  When I shared the results with the HR Director at the client organization and suggested maybe some kind of stress management workshop might be helpful, her response was: “It is the norm given the speed and competitive nature of the industry.”

Over the past decade, we have worked with a couple thousands of managers and senior leaders in China. Based on our empirical experience, we found that it is quite common to have 3-5 mid to high risk behaviors sometimes over 7out of a total 11 HDS derailers. Does this mean Chinese leaders are more prone to having more derailing behaviors under stress? How should we appropriately interpret the High Risk derailing behaviors under the China context?

For many clients who have done Hogan assessments, they often found the risk profile (or the dark side)  providing an interesting and unique aspect in understanding leadership effectiveness, as it helps us to understand our potential derailing behaviors when we are not closely monitoring ourselves. Oftentimes, clients would show concerns of or are alarmed by the high number of derailing behaviors in the risk profile, and some would like to re-take the Hogan Development Survey once a while to see if they have made any progresses. 

Macro Aspect

    •  Possible sources of stress under China’s context. China has experienced over twenty years of fast growth. Although there has been a slow down since last year,  our annual GDP growth at 7-8% is still quite strong compared with many other economies in the world. Under such context, all companies are coming to China for the market which inevitably intensified the competition at the same time; multinationals are having increasingly high expectation on their China division; impact of government policy and regulation and the ambiguity involved are always part of the stress for all businesses running in China. The recent slow down just made the stress level even worse. A lot of companies had to undergo restructuring due to failing to meet business targets in 2014.

Some other aspects (our empirical insights):

    •  “Feeling stressed” can be a potential development opportunity. Although the source of stress may vary across individuals, we often feel being challenged as a result of either fighting for a tight deadline, trying to meet demanding goals, or trying to balance different priorities or expectations. Alternatively, such source of stress can also be viewed as opportunity to grow. When working with leaders in support of their on-boarding process, we found that they may feel stressed when just starting a new job, but their stress level was likely to decline significantly when they view these new challenges as potential developmental opportunities, and took proactive actions to grow new skill sets and accumulating more experiences during their integration stage.

    • “Want more” so “stress more”? We often see people have lots of high drivers tend to have more high risk behaviors. This profile indicates that for a person with lots of needs and drivers, the chance of getting satisfied of all of his/her drivers are small. As a result, those with lots of needs and drivers seem more easily get stressed compared to others with few needs and drivers.

    •  Can be a complimentary behavior and supports the individual. In the research we conducted in 2012 on the Hogan profiles of Chinese Manager group, we found the Ambition scale is lower compared to managers in the U.S., Germany and Australia, however Bold scale is higher than that of managers in those countries. Such combination is quite consistent with the leadership behaviors we observed in China. On a day-to-day operation, a more team oriented and consensus driven style is preferred. But when being stressed, the same person can become assertive and confident, which often serves the person well in various leadership context and occasions.

Therefore, we want to be cautious in interpreting the Risk profile or Dark Side behaviors given all the aspects illustrated above. It’s always crucial to understand our Dark Side behavior so as to properly manage them rather than simply feeling anxious or bad about them. What we have share here from our experiences suggest that they may serve us well as development step stones after all!

作者:Nancy Zhang, MBA

President & Senior Consultant at MGP

Nancy Zhang張楠女士現任威埃勵企業管理咨詢(MGP)亞太區總裁,在領導力咨詢、市場學、客戶服務及高科技行業的公共關係方面有著豐富的經驗。在加入MGP之後,她曾主導及參與多個組織文化與有效性、高級經理人領導力發展項目,包括建立整體流程、評估以及為中高級經理人和領導者提供輔導。她服務的客戶包括世界500強企業以及中國及亞太地區的大型知名國有企業,涉及醫療、醫藥、化工、製造、快速消費品、金融、銀行、旅遊、零售、科技等各個領域。張楠女士為美國管理髮展中心(LMI)、美國發展協會(ASTD)以及EBC認證導師,同時她也擁有霍根性格測評系統(Hogan Assessment Systems)認證講師及培訓師資格。張楠女士畢業於蘭州交通大學計算機專業本科學位並擁有中歐國際工商學院(CEIBS)的工商管理碩士學位。在過去的數十年中,她為諸多跨國企業、國有企業和本土企業提供領導力發展、繼任計劃、高管輔導領域的服務。她現居上海,精通英語和中文。