Quiet Leadership: Discovering the New Strategic Advantage and the Hidden Talent in Your Organization
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 11:00 am ET
“A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind,” wrote Nelson Mandela in his autobiography. In the United States, leadership is closely connected to charisma and visibility. If you are not visible, you are not a leader. In many other parts of the world, especially in Asian cultures, leadership is not about being visible. It is the opposite: quietly doing your work and assuming that rewards will come. Can tacit assumptions about leadership lead to different outcomes regarding who occupies top leadership positions in corporate America and other organizations? What is the reason that despite founding one-fourth of firms in Silicon Valley during the technology boom, Asian Americans are still perceived as not “leadership material?” The evidence suggests that Asian Americans, a mere 5% of the U.S population, have contributed a significantly high proportion of entrepreneurs and innovators. But they practice a form of quiet or invisible leadership because of an unconscious, deep–rooted cultural assumption that leadership is about enabling and empowering, not about bringing attention to oneself and shining. Based on Dr. Thatchenkery’s new book on this topic, the talk will highlight the leadership contributions of Asian Americans in organizational settings. It will show that empowering such invisible leaders can create meaningful and positive change in organizations.
Dr. Tojo Thatchenkery,
Tojo Thatchenkery (PhD, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University) is an internationally known speaker, consultant, and educator. He is professor and director of the Organization Development and Knowledge Management program at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia. He is the author of over a dozen books and hundreds of articles. Thatchenkery has extensive consulting experience in change management, leadership development, organization design and strategy, diversity, and knowledge management.
His research and consulting also focus on Asian Americans and organizational mobility. Starting with his special issue of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences on this topic, he is one of the first researchers to analyze the human and social capital dynamics unique to Asian Americans in federal agencies and corporate America. Thatchenkery has over 25 years of experience in teaching at various public policy, MBA, organization development, and executive development programs in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
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