Making the Invisible Visible: Understanding Leadership Contributions of Asian Minorities in the Workplace

Overview

When we think of the most visible person in the workplace, we typically think of those who are in the most senior leadership positions; the CEO, the president of the organization, the program manager.  We assume that having visibility means leadership through “showing” others what it means to be a leader.  Yet Tojo Thatchenkery and Keimei Sugiyama found different and more collectively focused themes for leadership.  Making the Invisible Visible is a study of Asian Americans in the workplace ...

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Making the Invisible Visible: Understanding Leadership Contributions of Asian Minorities in the Workplace

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Overview

When we think of the most visible person in the workplace, we typically think of those who are in the most senior leadership positions; the CEO, the president of the organization, the program manager.  We assume that having visibility means leadership through “showing” others what it means to be a leader.  Yet Tojo Thatchenkery and Keimei Sugiyama found different and more collectively focused themes for leadership.  Making the Invisible Visible is a study of Asian Americans in the workplace and provides a framework through which to transform the same qualities that are contributing to this invisibility phenomenon into a positive leadership approach that provides a counterweight to balance the showmanship approach to leadership.  Showmanship can lead to short term achievement; however, and environment full of only this kind of leadership does not provide the opportunity for long term sustainable performance.  They also discuss strategies for Asian Americans in career management.  The invisible leaders that are going unseen today can be the visible leaders of tomorrow.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Finally, a book that challenges conventional assumptions about leadership. Genuine leadership is about generating substance, value and lasting results — not just superficial and immediate accomplishments, even if highly visible. Thatchenkery and Sugiyama in this original contribution show that quiet leadership is the next frontier in creating organizational excellence." —Vinod Thomas, Director-General and Senior Vice-President, IEG, World Bank

“A must-read for those seeking to understand Asian American leadership models rooted in cultures with collective mindsets, where this invisible leadership is about enabling and empowering. The authors argue that empowering these invisible leaders can create sustainable change and share approaches for recognizing quiet leaders, tools for developing and sustaining quiet leadership, and the impact of quiet leadership on innovation and change. “  —Rohini Anand, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo

"In Making the Invisible Visible, Tojo Thackenkery and Keimei Sugiyama are shining a light on the positive power of Asian American leadership. Collaboration, long term focus, and rewarding the whole: Invisible as these attributes may seem, and rare as they may be in our Western organizations, these qualities are precisely what our institutions and our world need today. As a consultant and coach for several outstanding Asian American leaders, and as the mother of young Asian American adults who are finding their place in society, I applaud the truth-telling and clarity of this wonderful book."  —Annie McKee, Founder, Teleos Leadership Institute

“Thatchenkery and Sugiyama have indeed succeeded in making the invisible visible in this powerful, research-driven account of the experience of Asian-Americans inside our organizations.  More than a call for sensitivity or tolerance toward others who are different, this book shows us what we’re missing when we fail to notice the talented Asian-American resources around us.  In a competitive business environment, we need all the help we can get. Some of that help is right under our noses, already available and waiting to be recognized for the strengths they bring.  In the end, this isn’t a book about Asian-Americans; it’s about all of us, and what we need to do differently to win.”  —William Pasmore, Professor of Practice, Teachers College, Columbia University

"As the challenges facing business change, we see how limiting the traditional leadership stereotype is. People outside the standard mold ­­– younger employees near the bottom of the corporate hierarchy, women who wish to take a break from their careers, managers who lack “charisma” but are quietly collaborative – can be more effective than the typical leader in meeting today’s business challenges. Making the Invisible Visible adds a cultural dimension to this issue, showing how in Western companies Asian Americans often hit a glass ceiling, one that robs their organizations of the value they could create as senior leaders."  —Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies and bestselling author of Employees First, Customers Second: Turbaning Conventional Management Upside Down

"Excellence can be achieved through multiple ways that need to be adapted particularly to the culture around us. The leadership contributions of Asians and Asian Americans through quiet leadership is supported by research and interesting illustrations. A must read for those interested in a holistic approach to leadership and change." —Manoj Juneja, currently  Assistant Director-General, Corporate Services, Human resources and Finance Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  His title will change to Deputy-Director General (Operations), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

"A powerful narrative about the need to embrace an inclusive model of leadership in global organizations. Thatchenkery and Sugiyama have provided a compelling case for reaching out to the quiet leaders in your  organization who may have ideas and strategies that if implemented may give you a solid competitive advantage."  —"Tiger" Tyagarajan, President and CEO, Genpact

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230103061
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Tojo Thatchenkery is Professor and Director of M.S. in Organization Development and Knowledge Management at the School of Public Policy. He is also a member of the NTL Institute of Applied Behavioral Science (www.ntl.org) and the Taos Institute (www.taosinstitute.net). Dr. Thatchenkery has over twenty years of experience in teaching at various Public Policy, MBA, Organization Development, and executive programs in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Dr. Thatchenkery founded the Masters in New Professional Studies program at George Mason University (with Professor Hugh Sockett) and served as its director since its inception in 1995 until 2001. He also founded the Organizational Learning Laboratory at the George W. Johnson Learning Center and served as its director from 1995 to 2000. During this time the facility was featured as one of the leading laboratories for organizational learning and knowledge management by the Academy of Management and the Project Management Jourbanal and served clients such as Fannie Mae.

Keimei Sugiyama is an experienced consultant at a large global management consulting company.  She has served in various team lead functions for communications, training, stakeholder management, and organizational change work.  Her previous experience in several different corporate Human Resource functions, as well as in conducting seminars on career management for Asian Americans, spurred her interest and subsequent research for the Asian American workforce topics covered in this book.  She has her bachelor’s degree from Smith College where she conducted research on Japanese American Internment literature, and has her master’s degree from George Mason University in Organization Development and Knowledge Management.  She also presented at the 2008 Academy of Management with Professor Thatchenkery.

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1
• INTRODUCTION
• Visibility for Invisible Leaders
• CHAPTER 2: A Pulse Survey of Asian Americans at Work
• Chapter 3: Making the Invisible Visible- Interviews and Analysis
• CHAPTER 4: Invisible Leadership: What is Invisible Leadership? 
• CHAPTER 5: Making Invisible Leadership Work
• CHAPTER 6: Highlighting Invisible Strengths - Career Management Strategies * CHAPTER 7: Invisible Minority: The Story of Asian and Asian American Glass Ceiling
• CHAPTER 8: Invisible Ceiling
• CHAPTER 9: Seeing the Ceiling: “Our” Story: Who are Asian Americans?
• CHAPTER 10: Strategies for Organizations
• Epilogue: A Conversation between Keimei and her nephew Evan
• Appendix 1: Asian American Leadership Survey Questions

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