George Kohlrieser is an organizational and clinical psychologist, a professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at The International Institute for Management Development (IMD), and consultant to global organizations around the world.
His research, teaching, and consulting activities are focused on high performance leadership, high performance teamwork, conflict management, change management, dialogue and negotiation, coaching, stress management, work life balance, and personal and professional development. He is also a Police Psychologist and Hostage Negotiator focusing on aggression management and hostage negotiations. Kohlrieser is founder and director of Shiloah International, a consultancy offering integrated programs to a wide range of organizations. He has worked in some eighty-five countries in North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe, Middle East, Asia, India, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Kohlrieser completed his doctorate at Ohio State University where he wrote his dissertation on cardio vascular recovery of law enforcement leaders following high stress situations. He is also the author of a recent book entitled Hostage At The Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance.
Kohlrieser: It is a problem in that we are not known as one of the more effective cultures to create bonding, create relationships, who create a lot of social relationships. There are more superficial relationships if you hear Asians or Europeans or South Americans speak about what it’s like to be in a relationship with American business people or otherwise. I think it is changing though. I think we’re, again, going to have to come back to some fundamental things about tribes, clans, families. One of the greatest things I see is the role that parents now take in taking care of children, especially fathers. Being a father of four kids, it’s very amazing to me to watch how deeply engaged fathers can be, the whole thing of how do we then teach this and model this. And you look at somebody like Muhammad Yunus who clearly creates a picture of what’s possible, what has happened here with what we know about, the ability to forgive. We have all kinds of models of people who have been wronged, who no longer are just seeking justice and revenge. But once there’s a certain amount of justice, how do we move on then? How do we let the grief go and move forward towards a new vision or a new goal? So, actually, I am quite optimistic. And if you recall, I mentioned earlier that people, unfortunately, don’t change for benefits. The majority don’t change for the benefit. They change because they see either the pain, the pain gets so great or they have a secure base who helps them through that process. What we need now more than ever is leaders, leaders, leaders, leaders in organizations, in medicine. Look at the failed leader in medicine… leadership in medicine, the failed leadership in education. We should be teaching children at early ages about leadership, in schools, in universities. Leadership should be a part of the mindset of everybody going through the educational system. And where is leadership first learned? In the family, around the dining room table and how that family gets along. We need to bring that awareness back to people that we are needing for everybody to engage in leadership behavior. And that there are those people who are specifically in roles where they are leading others and getting others to follow towards a productive outcome.