The culture defines the leader.

Author:Clavijo, Daniela

The country where a company operates plays a key role when it's time to lead high-performance teams. Adaptability takes center stage.

Alberto Mondelli moved to Brazil in the summer of 2008 to become the general manager of Mercer, the human resource consultancy with which he had worked for more than eight years in management positions in Mexico and Venezuela. Shortly after he arrived, the Venezuelan executive discovered that his leadership style wasn't working there: he had arrived from Mexico, where authority comes with your position or hierarchy.

"In general, if you asked that something be done, it was done," says Mondelli. "In Brazil, that style didn't work for me because in their culture the distance between ranks is smaller."

He discovered that in his new post he would not face so many distinctions in the structure of the company. "It's a flatter society, where social differences are not so marked in companies."

Also, the CEO was continually confronted with the phrase: "That doesn't work in Brazil," and so he decided to change his way of decision-making and adapted his leadership style. "Instead of saying to the Brazilians, 'We have to do this,' I would say, 'We have this situation. How would you handle it?"' he explained to Latin Trade. The intention was to try to find a solution as a team, taking into account the history and culture of the country.

The challenge faced by Mondelli, who since 2015 has been the leading partner in human capital consulting and organizational change in Latin America for KPMG consultancy, shows that a country's culture, up to a certain point and without reverting to stereotypes, influences leadership.

However, there are three factors that also define effectiveness in a post: the socioeconomic context, the individual background of a leader, and the organizational culture of the company where he or she works.

Analysts say that organizational culture goes beyond whether the company has a vertical structure, based on hierarchical positions, or a horizontal one, with fewer rungs on the corporate ladder and in decision-making. The feedback methods allowed and promoted among the leaders and their teams have a direct impact on the leadership style of the companies that operate in the region, even if they are multinationals.

The importance of feedback in the management style of a leader in Latin America is rooted in the fact that leaders, unlike in other regions, seek to be more involved in the operation.

"It has an influence on...

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