Where are the best crisis managers to be found?
HILL International shows characteristic strengths in CEE and SEE
Vienna, 07.10.2009 – A current survey conducted by HILL International compares the crisis management potential of the Austrians with that of the population of South and Eastern Europe. The survey includes 14 further countries next to Austria – Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Poland, Latvia, Russia and the Ukraine – and it shows regionally different distinct characteristic strengths. The basic foundation is a comprehensive catalogue of characteristics and abilities that are expected from a crisis manager in real life.
In times of crisis the requirements posed towards the management are especially high. Successful managers think strategically, recognize problematic circumstances quickly, and prepare adequate measures on time. They communicate openly and actively, can motivate employees also under difficult surrounding conditions, and can deal with a certain measure of ambiguity – for example on the one side the realization of hard decisive points, on the other hand expansion in healthy company areas or promising markets. Founded specialist knowledge alone is usually not enough in critical situations. Crisis managers must ideally possess special abilities and characteristics. An international study conducted by HILL International shows in which countries these are especially distinct in a random sampling on management level. Othmar Hill, founder and president of HILL International finds his estimation confirmed by the results. »It shows which different basic structures people in different cultures have. In the composition of teams this is a great resource that many may not realize. At the same time however it also shows how important it is to objectively select or evaluate people, especially for internationally active companies.«
In the course of the survey, factors important for crisis management were compared using the results of the HILL Competence Analysis© from 15 countries. The HILL Competence Analysis© collects personal and social orientation, abilities, as well as individual strengths of the test persons in over 20 countries and makes them internationally comparable. The random sampling especially includes managers that have contact to Western companies respectively work for them. The regular standardization of the competence analysis based on culture specific random samples enables us to follow developments over years on the one hand, and compare the current status in the individual countries on the other hand.
What competencies must crisis managers truly have?
The basic requirements for a crisis manager mainly include target orientation, the willingness to take risks, the ability to set priorities and make decisions quickly, but also the courage to try creative and unconventional solutions. Beyond that, crisis managers must have a high frustration tolerance, be resistant to stress, and have a confident and sovereign appearance, act disciplined and conscientious and must possess a distinct feeling for ethics and moral. In interpersonal interaction conflict resistance, self-assuredness, balance, but also motivational power and the ability to excite others are asked for, employees and colleagues need to be convinced of the importance and rightness of the actions. In difficult times trust needs to be built up within the company as well as towards the outside; an open and transparent communication style is especially important. Good crisis managers know and utilize the potentials of the own employees, encourage them to actively contribute to the solution process, inform them about all-important facts, and encourage them to approach problems professionally themselves and take risks.
The best are found in South-eastern Europe
Put simply, the best crisis managers are at home in Romania, followed by Turkey, Poland, and Croatia. People in Romania are very assertive, strong in realization, balanced, action oriented, brave, emotionally robust, communicative, disciplined, and conscientious – a combination that is especially beneficial in a crisis. People from Latvia are different; with their personality characteristics – introverted, reserved, avoiding conflict, contemplative, cause-oriented, careful and assessing – they are not the born crisis maangers, but especially good team players and empathetic managers.
Austrians as crisis managers
»The Austrians have learned quite a bit in the area of management and intercultural competence during these last decades», says Othmar Hill. And also in the current country comparison Austria places well in the middle range: The results show a balanced behaviour that is adapted to the respective crisis situation. We present ourselves, just like managers from Russia, the Ukraine, and Poland, in a balanced manner, with a high frustration tolerance and brave and courageous action. However, Austria still needs to catch up regarding discipline, conscientiousness, and willingness to act. Austrians tend to act less disciplined and hesitant, which is not beneficial in crisis situations. There is still much to be learned from other nations in this aspect.
Partially very contrary behaviour
Next to congruities of the personality characteristics of people in the different countries, there are also differences. It needs to be considered that the random sampling from the CEE/SEE countries is largely made up of managers active for Western companies. Therefore these persons act more fact-oriented, objective, and distant for example in the Ukraine, while Austrians tend towards person-oriented, subjective, and direct behaviour. Managers from South-eastern Europe are more willing to help and accommodating, in Austria people clearly act more egocentrical and inconsiderate. While Austrians act more daring and willing to take risks, persons for example from Latvia are more safety-oriented, careful, and assessing. The Austrians also tend more towards self-critical, doubting behaviour, while especially the Turkish managers are confident, convincing, and assertive in comparison.
The results differ strongly depending on the country and therefore show again how different the potentials in the different countries are, but also how important it is to consider cultural differences in the evaluation of people. Further it became clear that partially dynamic changes in the individual countries of Eastern and South-eastern Europe are visible in a longitudinal section (comparison of the results 2008/09 with standards from the years 2005 and 2002). This shows how fast managers in these countries adapt to Western behaviour without partially losing their very specific characteristics. The complexity of this situation makes it clear: Without founded diagnostics it is extremely difficult to back up personnel decisions in intercultural surroundings.
The personnel and management consulting company HILL International is a specialist for the accompaniment of multinational companies in Central, Eastern, and South-eastern Europe. HILL International offers professional support in personnel need planning, search and selection of qualified employees and managers, personnel development and management audits, training and coaching. With an area-wide network of approximately 40 offices in over 20 countries HILL International possesses country specific know-how and local market insight.
Approximately 35 years of experience, interculturally useable, scientifically founded methods, and uniform quality standards ensure professional services like the HILL Competence Analysis© and the online products HILL_BEST FIT and HILL Online Matching.
A recent Austrian-wide OGM survey conducted in September showed that HILL International is associated with the highest competence among all personnel consulting companies. The result is based on an online survey of more than 1.100 decision makers and personnel managers.