All entries for Saturday 12 February 2011

February 12, 2011

what are we learning?

How about if what I learned in UK is not compatible to my future job in my country? Paul raised the question on Friday because concepts in leadership and management appear different between eastern countries and western countries. However, I remembered he said in the first lesson in leadership, you would never learn leadership in the class. So does it really matter what I'm learning now and do I need to concern about it if things become conflicted in some day. Sometimes things just turn out to be ridiculous. For example, most people agree that there's no relationship between a good student and a good employee. Meanwhile, most students work hard on their lessons in order to learn more and get good marks. But no one can guarantee they will be successful employees let alone effective leaders. Brush once said in Yale, those who did well in their grades were excellent and those who did poor in their courses would have the chance to become the president. Churchill got really terrible results in his marks and Gates even dropped out school. But finally, they all proved to be great leaders. Does it make any sense?

My mom came across some undergraduate colleagues and master colleagues. Generally speaking, she believed people who did master degree had better ability at work. Was it because the masters had more knowledge in his job? I don't think so because most of them did their degrees in totally distinct areas compare to their jobs. The masters turned out to be more excellent just because they were more capable at learning, especially at learning new things. We learned a lot about chemistry, biology and physics, etc. However, a large number of people will never face any problem that relates to the above fields. Why do we still need to learn these things? Yes, you can say we learn them as we need to get our degrees and do well in the college entrance examination. Forget these, are these lessons useless and do they waste our time? I think the most significant benefit we got from what we learned was not the knowledge itself but was the learning ability we obtained. For example, this year I'm doing the MBE course. But the most important thing I'm learning isn't leadership, CBE and six sigma, etc. I'm learning how to learn. Come back to the question, it doesn't matter whether it's compatible or not because we are learning how to learn to be a leader instead of how to be a leader.

western vs eastern

It is widely acknowledged that leaders in eastern countries and western countries usually lead their people in different ways. I agree with what Shi-wen said that it was because of the differences in education. Someone had made a comparison between the education in both America and China and claimed America nurtured its children to become "wolves" which had the ability to strive for their ideas while China trained its students to be "sheep" which lack of the capability of initiative and creation. This could be one reason to explain the differences. However, I want to add more points. The differences may generate because of distinct systems of organizations. I'm not familiar with western companies whether leaders should obtain the support or vote of their followers. But in China, leaders just need to be responsible to their leaders, for example, top leaders. It is because only your leaders can decide whether you can get promotion or whether you are suitable to your currently position. In this case, it is not necessary for Chinese leaders to consider or be care about their employees' conditions because the followers can change nothing even though they really don't like their leader. Beside, the concepts and philosophies between China and UK are different as UK tends to support Deming while Drucker gets more votes in China. But it is difficult to say which one is better and to conclude whether leadership in western countries in more effective than in eastern countries. Management in some developed countries seems more scientific and cares more about human nature, however, according to napoleon: an army of sheep, led by a lion, is better than an army of lions, led by a sheep. But how about if a lion leads an army of lions?

February 2011

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