Leadership, Asian-style


Food for thought from Harvard Business School professor D. Quinn Mills as he explains that the American and Asian leadership styles, while very different, also share important similarities.

The emotionalism that goes with passion is more common in America than elsewhere. Europeans see it as a sort of business evangelicalism and are very suspicious of it. Decisiveness is common to effective executives in all countries: In this regard European and Japanese chief executives are the most consensus-oriented, and Chinese and American top executives are more likely to make decisions personally and with their own accountability.

…. Self-knowledge is important in avoiding the sort of over-reach so common in America; it is less common a virtue in America than in Asia, and is a strength of the Asian executive.

Humility is a very uncommon trait in the American CEO. It is sometimes found in Asia. It is often a trait of the most effective leaders, as it was in the best-respected of all American political leaders, Abraham Lincoln.

HBS Working Knowledge | Asian and American Leadership Styles: How Are They Unique?