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MANAGING IN TURKISH CULTURE

ACAR BALTAŞ, Ph. D. is a pioneer who has shown to

large groups in Turkey that psychology provides solutions for human needs and problems in business life. Since 1983, he has been giving seminars, and doing administrations for enhancing healthy people’s life quality and institutional productivity. Pursuant to his first book entitled Stress and Ways of Coping, he published the books of Outstanding Success, Team Work and Leadership, The Body Language, Cut Your Dreams According to Your Cloth and Baltaş Management Series. Acar Baltaş has been instrumental in the international success of numerous organizations with his training programmes stemming from Turkish culture’s value system, and team work. He has given many interviews to the written and visual media and prepared programmes that cover the topics of “business life in the 21st”. century,” “transformation”, “team work”, “leadership”, and “emotional intelligence”. He was the psychological consultant of Turkish A Level National Football Team between 1996-1999 and of Galatasaray Football Team in 2002-2003 season. He gave consultancy to Turkish A Level National Football Team in 2005 as well. He manages together with Prof. Dr. Zuhal Baltaş the two companies he founded, which are called Baltaş-Baltaş Management, Training and Consultancy, and Baltaş-Eksen Selection, Assessment and Organization.

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ACAR BALTAĹž Ph. D.

Managing in Turkish Culture Acquiring Global Success With Local Values

Remzi Kitabevi


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MANAGING IN TURKISH CULTURE

To my wife Zuhal, who has worked hand in hand with me through the journey which started from university library, leading to the harmonious individual maturity.

managıng ın turkısh culture / Acar Baltaş © Remzi Kitabevi, 2013 All rights reserved. Reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission. Cover design: Emrah Apaydın ısbn 978-975-14-1547-9 fırst edıtıon: February, 2013 Remzi Kitabevi A.Ş., Akmerkez E3-14, 34337 Etiler-İstanbul Tel (212) 282 2080 Faks (212) 282 2090 www.remzi.com.tr post@remzi.com.tr Printed at Remzi Kitabevi A.Ş. 100. Yıl Matbaacılar Sitesi, 196, Bağcılar-İstanbul

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Acknowledgements

In some books thanks are expressed to numerous people for their contributions. The acknowledgements in this book are very simple‌ In preparation of the English version of this book, Handan Odaman has put in extensive effort to make sure that the content is delivered in the most accurate way. I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to her both in my name and in the name of my readers.


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Contents

Acknowledgements ........................................................................5 Foreword .........................................................................................9 Leader or Manager?......................................................................11 Research ....................................................................................... 13 SECTION I Who is The Leader in Turkish Culture? The Principle of the Gardener.......................................................19 The Leader is the Person Who Influences Others and Alters the Result .................................................................28 Leaders’ Features in Turkish Culture............................................ 35 How Should Leaders Behave in Turkey? ........................................................................ 42 Leadership Beyond Time.............................................................. 50 Bad Leadership ............................................................................. 56 Values in Business Life ................................................................. 64 Not Everyone Can be a Leader ....................................................71 End of Omnipotent Management ................................................. 76 Managing the Corporate Culture ..................................................81 How Talented are CEOs? .............................................................85 Level 5 Leadership and Charisma ................................................................................ 90 Managing Generation Y ................................................................ 95 SECTION II How to Transform Potential to Performance? Lessons to be Learned from Terrorists .............................................................................105


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Why Managers Should be Aware of Personality ...................................................................109 How Much Can Our Strengths Help Us?......................................................................................117 Limitations of Strengths ..............................................................124 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy ...............................................................130 Can Ordinary Work be Performed Outstandingly? .................... 135 Fast and Easy Solutions .............................................................139 Cornerstone of Organizational Success and Sustainability: Trust .........................................................145 Leadership Integrity in Establishing Trust ................................. 153 Employee Engagement Enhances Profitability .......................... 160 Role of the Manager in Performance Management System ...... 171 The Task Manager Cannot Delegate: Internal Coaching ........................................................................176 Mentorship in Organizations.......................................................182 SECTION III How to Create Effective Teams Importance of Personality in Team Performance .......................189 Teams Unique to Turkey.............................................................192 Where Do We Go Wrong in Teamwork................................................................................198 Things We Learned From Our Journey of Teamwork in Fifteen Years ...........................................................................205 Success in Multi-Cultural Teams ................................................211 Why is Compromising Hard? How Can We Make it Easy?........ 215 How Full is Your Bucket? ............................................................217

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FOREWORD

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Foreword

This book looks at life through the eyes of a psychologist. Based on the field of their profession, psychologists have a different view of their environment and people around them, in contrast to those who do not have this formation. All of us try to understand, interpret and reach judgments about life, on the bases of events and phenomenon. These judgments may be simple and personal such as “My colleague is not a good member of the team; he thinks compromising equals to defeat and always wants things to be as he wishes”; or they may be indirect subjects which make us ask questions like, “How could anyone think that he can train a child by viciously beating him, which ends up in the child’s hospitalization? In what sort of thinking and mood state are they?” Sometimes we feel upset that our child is not tidying up his/her room properly or that the sales representative is submitting his/her report full of spelling mistakes, and we are inclined to think that they do not understand what we are saying or they take no heed of us. At other times, we become astounded by our most efficient and diligent employees, for whom we have considered to have a brilliant future, when we find out that he/she fiddled with the accounts at the end of the year and pretended to achieve the goals by transferring other’s sales to his/her account, and we cannot help saying, “But why? How could this be?” Yet a psychologist with an efficient background takes a different view while looking at such incidents. Because he/she knows that this particular event is the result of all that was done and not done previously, and one has to look at the reasons to evaluate the results. He/ she knows that in order to resolve all misunderstandings within the


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team, it requires to sustain rightfulness, rather than being right and he/she manages relationships accordingly. He/she does not seek the most rightful solution from own point of view, but the one which would cause the least discomfort for everyone. While attributing a meaning to the adult’s behavior attempting to train a child by beating or a talented employee’s acts, the psychologist takes the importance of values in human life into consideration. He/she knows that the answer to the question “Why?” lies in these values. With such an approach, he/she can make sense of the wreckage caused by greed in the finance world. A psychologist knows that the indifference of a child or a colleague about a certain matter is not due to lack of heed but because of that particular person’s personality. His/her scientific knowledge on personality helps o see what could be changed and what could not be changed, and thus enables using the energy in a more efficient manner. As a result he/she neither distresses ownself nor harms his/her relations by enforcing them. He/she feels sorry for people who use other people as model for their children, saying, “you can succeed if you wish; you are clever but lazy…” as well as for those who continuously argue with their spouses “who do not act as he/she wishes” and thus disrupt their loving relationship. Because the psychologist is aware of the fact that no matter how much they may want, there are things that people cannot do. He/she knows that people are born with a certain programme and tries to be of help to the spouse, child, employee and friend, for them to realize their potential which was won from the genetic lottery. So, with this book, from the viewpoint of a psychologist, I am inviting you to take a journey in order to attribute different meanings to life and business world, on the bases of research showing that our strengths come from both our genetic lottery and our cultural genes.

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LEADER OR MANAGER?

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Leader or Manager?

One of the incessant arguments in management literature is the meanings attributed to the concepts of a manager and a leader. Most of the practical definitions in this issue, as well as various aphorisms such as “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right things” sound nice but are not clear enough. The trend we have adopted in our training efforts is one of the most widespread views on this subject: “The act altering the result is the leadership behavior. The leader influences, creates an impression and achieves good results by means of others.” Looking at it from this aspect, leadership can also be attained by the person at the lowest level in an organization. When we say “The leader at work is the one that achieves the most outstanding results and sustains them, together with his/her team”, we attribute leadership to the unit manager at the lowest level. That is because the sustainability of success does not depend on enforcing people by the status itself, but on convincing, inspiring and motivating them. This in turn can only be achieved by the leader’s attribution of meaning to the work involved and transferring this meaning to others. In this aspect, willingness is essential. From another viewpoint, leadership is not a “status” achieved by climbing up the steps in management. Thus, managers cannot become leaders simply by “expanding”. There is basic difference between a leader and a manager. The leader chooses the point to be reached, establishes the goals and sets up the strategy. A Turkish proverb illustrates this very well: “the eye is that see beyond the mountain, reasonis that knows what is to come.” On the other hand, the manager looks inside the organization and ensures that the daily


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operations are carried out as planned. Since the features involved in carrying out these functions are entirely different, the managers cannot achieve “leadership” by climbing up the steps in time. Therefore, the leader is on top of the organization and the managers below will most probably remain where they are. Personally, I believe one cannot become a leader unless he/she is a good manager. It is not necessary to perform the tasks in the best possible manner to be able to manage it, however, I do not think people can be managed unless the key points and the process of the work are well known. Therefore, anyone with a successful history of performance and management cannot become a leader. The secret of a successful leader lies in a serious knowledge about the nature and the process of the work involved. An intensive ethnographic research via focus groups and depth interviews has revealed that leadership is perceived as a “higher level status” than management in Turkish culture.(1) There is a widespread conviction that management is learned through education and experience while leadership is an inborn nature. Leadership involves the processes such as the opportunity recognition brought by change, interpretation of the future, turning these interpretations into messages and infusing others, and uniting people around a belief. On the other hand, management is considered as a more routine, technical process developing within existing rules. Leaders are believed to be more emotional and ambitious, while managers are supposed to be more rational and objective. Motivation is the task of both the leader and manager; however, while the manager achieves this by rewards and punishment, the leader finds more different, creative ways. In general, leadership is seen as a more difficult and outstanding position.

(1) Chhokar, J.S., Brodbeck, F.C., House, R.J., Culture and Leadership Across the World: The Globe Book of In-Depth Studies of 25 Societies, p. 852, London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007

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Research

Hofstede Research Professor Geert Hofstede from Maastrich University conducted an extensive study by analyzing the data from 74 countries and he indicated how the work place values were affected from culture. His study is the first that combines cultural tendencies with observable institutional differences among the countries:(1) Power Distance Index (PDI) is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations or institutions (like the family) perceive and accept that “power is distributed unequally�. It is important that it is defined and accepted from below, not from above in the hierarchy. World average/Turkey: 55/56 Individualism (IDV), is how individuals define themselves. On the individualistic side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: Everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivistic side, we find societies in which people define themselves an important part of their families or other significant groups. In such societies, values such as protectionism and loyalty are important. World average/Turkey: 43/37 Masculinity (MAS), in masculine societies power and success, whereas in feminine societies interpersonal harmony and agreement become primarily important. World average/Turkey: 50/45 Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society’s tolerance for the negative emotions resulting from uncertainty and ambiguity. (1) http://www.geert-hofstede.com


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In societies with a high index, individuals feel insecurity and threat when they come across an uncertain situation. People’s emotions are primarily important in those societies where the probability of uncertainty is aimed to be diminished by strict rules, bureaucracy and structured social norms. In societies with a low index, the number of rules and laws are as minimum as possible. Different ideas and trends can evolve together. In those societies, thoughts are important than emotions. World average/Turkey: 64/85 GLOBE Research The Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) Research provides the most extensive project conducted on culture and leadership. The project involves 61 countries, academicians on the one side and managers in business life on the other side. Culture was operationalized in terms of the following dimensions: Assertiveness is the degree to which individuals are assertive, confrontational, and aggressive in social relationships. Future Orientation reflects individuals’ future-oriented behaviors such as planning, investing in the future, and delaying individual or collective gratification. Gender Egalitarianism is the extent to which an organization or a society minimizes gender role differences while promoting gender equity and the equity of genders. Humane Orientation is the degree to which individuals are encouraged and rewarded for being fair, altruistic, friendly, generous, caring, kind to others, and exhibiting and promoting altruistic ideals. Institutional Collectivism reflects the degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action. In-Group Collectivism reflects the degree to which individuals express pride, loyalty, and commitment to the group (family, community, team, institution) they fell belonging to. Performance Orientation refers to the extent to which high lev-

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el members of organizations and societies encourage and reward group members for performance improvement and excellence. Power Distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations or institutions (like the family) perceive and accept that “power is distributed unequally”. It is important that is defined and accepted from below, not from above in the hierarchy. Uncertainty Avoidance deals with a society’s tolerance for the negative emotions resulting from uncertainty and ambiguity. In societies with a high index, individuals feel insecurity and threat when they come across an uncertain situation. People’s emotions are primarily important in those societies where the probability of uncertainty is aimed to be diminished by strict rules, bureaucracy and structured social norms. The source we have used in this book is the publication in 2008, entitled Culture and Leadership Across the World, covering the results of the research carried out in 25 countries, including Turkey.


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LEADER OR MANAGER?

SECTION I

Who is the Leader in Turkish Culture?

MTC 2

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THE PRINCIPLE OF THE GARDENER

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The Principle of the Gardener

“How do you know others? Like I do myself…”

One of the basic moral principles in religious books is, “Treat others like you wish to be treated.” If we limit this saying as “not to harm others in the course of daily life”, it may sound sensible. Yet, in various phases of both professional and social life, this saying ruins relationships and makes life difficult, rather than improving and easing them. To say, “Treat others as you wish to be treated” is no different than saying, “My wishes and aspirations are true for everyone,” or “Everyone must be like me.” When my elder son was eight years old, the Superman was a model figure and greatly popular among his contemporaries, and he had a collection of its various versions. So he bought one as a birthday gift for his brother who was 4 years younger. This gift was not much appreciated as he hoped, because my younger son was keen on model cars. This well-meant but quite simple train of thought, which was understandable at that age, is an indication of believing yourself to be the centre of the universe. In our family circle, we had an acquaintance who immediately became close to the people he had just met, beginning to address them with their first names and telling them rather obscene jokes. When he was reminded that this was not very proper, he would say things like, “But they can behave similarly towards me. I tolerate it and also enjoy it.” I have seen many examples of how such thoughts have a detrimental effect on productivity and relationships in professional life. I



Managing in Turkish Culture / Acar Baltaş