While in Korea, one of our hosts talked about how it is part of their culture to have a strong family value. So strong that if a child is going to do something that will get them in trouble, if it brings shame on the family, they would be compelled not do it. In fact, when a child gets their first job, the customary to give their first paycheck back the parents as an act of appreciation, respect, and value for the family.
There’s the same value in their teams…the collective team is stronger than any one individual and decisions are made in favor of the team over celebrating one persons accomplishments. How much better we would be if we each considered each other more important than ourselves and made decisions in light of how it would strengthen our teams and families, rather than tear them down.
Great post and report on what we talked about during your time here in Korea.
This is the motto that runs Western Culture: “The early bird gets the worm.” However, in Asian Culture (especially East-Asian Culture influenced heavily by Confucianism), the motto looks very different – “The nail that sticks out gets hammered in.”
In Asian Culture, it’s the team/family/tribe that gets most of the recognition and value (over and above the individual), even when it’s the individual who is bringing about the significant accomplishments.
Just as Westerners struggle with pride, and especially in the exaltation and glorifying of self, so do Asians. Rather than struggling with outright pride, Asians tend to struggle with false-humility, which is really a form of pride. Instead of announcing, “I can do it, give it to me, let me show you how much I can do,” Asians will initially decline any offer for advancement or recognition, but inside they are desperately desiring it.