Interview with Ms Hannah Lambeck, Authentic Leadership Global Inc

1) What are the qualities of an authentic leader in your opinion?
Authentic leaders are leaders who live and lead in alignment with their personal values and take this integrity into the workplace. They are the same person at home and at work which makes them credible and likeable for others which creates mutual respect. Authentic leaders are clear about what the right thing to do is and recognize the importance of seeing employees as human beings rather than just as workers. They are self-aware and emotionally intelligent and model authenticity for colleagues and employees.

2) You have lived and worked in several countries. Tell us something about intercultural competence.
People are afraid of change and of the unknown – dealing with another culture implies both of these and can therefore be a challenging experience. First, one needs to be aware that much of what we consider ‘normal’ and ‘the way we do things around here’ are determined by culture and are different in other places. Just as with authenticity, self-awareness (in this case cultural self-awareness) is essential to developing the competence of dealing with oneself and others. I believe that the level of intercultural competence depends on previous intercultural experiences as well as personality. A one-year high school exchange in the USA was my first real intercultural experience and I quickly learned my first important intercultural lesson - which is applicable in many other parts of life: different doesn’t mean worse. This might sound logical and it is often very difficult to put into practice. Yet it is essential to intercultural competence as it implies that we don’t judge things and people only according to our own cultural values and customs.

3) What did you learn from different cultures? Which country influenced you the most?
Being confronted with other cultures, we always learn new aspects about our own culture which can sometimes be disturbing but overall very rewarding. My most recent and most intense cultural encounter I experienced was in Peru, because the culture is very distinct from my own.  In Peru I have rediscovered the value of family which is strongly established in collectivist cultures and integrated in all parts of life. Living in unison with nature, an essential part to Peruvian culture and customs, is another piece of wisdom that I have taken from my Peruvian experience – if appreciated and cared for, nature is a gift for mind and body. In the Netherlands I enjoyed the harmonic and personal way people treat each other which I attribute mainly to a flat hierarchy typical to feminine cultures.

4) Share something about Authentic Leadership Conversations with us.
Authentic Leadership Conversations™ are 2.5-hr sessions where a small group of leaders come together, and where an experienced Facilitator creates a comfortable environment for participants to experience authenticity, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence. The process and content of the approximately 20 topics are very flexible and can be adapted to the facilitator and virtually any audience. The authentic leadership programs are used by facilitators to promote authenticity and emotional intelligence in the corporate world as well as in a variety of communities. Try one for free

5) Share with us a few of your experiences and lessons in global communications.
If my experience with global and intercultural communication has taught me something, it is the fact that there is always something new to learn. Even though intercultural work facilitates the process, every new encounter is a challenge because cultural stereotypes cannot be generalized and each individual in a company has his/her very own way of communicating. Even the best product, the best service and the best message need to be reviewed and often adapted for different countries and cultures in order to be received as desired. That is a challenging but very interesting task.

6) What is your Life’s motto?
There are two great phrases that complement each other and that I like to see as mottos:
“Listen to your heart, follow your intuition and strive for your dreams “
“I am not perfect but I'm good”
Brief profile
Hannah Lambeck is Manager Client Relations and Global Communications at Authentic Leadership Global Inc (Canada). She is presently based in Peru, South America.

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