Credibility can be more important than vision

Managers (especially those educated in the West) often feel the need to provide vision, hope and clarity of direction even in the most turbulent and uncertain waters. The managerial assumption is that people need hope and something to cling to. This managerial assumption has a cultural bias.One part of the cultural bias is that ambiguity needs to be mitigated because it is intolerable. Another part of the cultural bias is that stories should have happy ends, sort of “ all is well that ends well“ as a desired state.

Not all cultures have a need for management to provide this perceived sense of phony hope, especially if the provision of this hope compromises credibility of their manager. For many cultures, it is “ok` to promise blood, sweat, tears, criticism, temporary floundering and worse, as long as the boss is seen as credible,  technically competent, street smart and on top of things. The cultural bias herein is the overriding need for credibility, the willingness to let go of the perceived myth that we control our destiny and the tolerance for ambiguity in a hostile environment.

And thanks to GC for making me think.

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