Straight shooting advice?

中国日报网 2017-06-13 12:45



Straight shooting advice?Reader question:

Please explain “straight shooting”, as in “some straight shooting advice for career women”.

My comments:

Here, straight shooting (or straight-shooting) means direct and forthright. The advice may be from older career women themselves or people who’re experienced in dealing with issues career women often face at the work place – and at home, considering women often shoulder more household responsibilities.

Anyways, straight-shooting as an adjective is originally descriptive of the way a rifle shooter takes aim at a target in distance. If he or she does it correctly, they have to aim straight at the target of course.

Of course. Only this way can they have a realistic chance of hitting the target, weather permitting, etc. I mean, if there’s a big wind or something, the shooter should make adjustments accordingly but still, they have to aim straight at the target, more or less.

In our example, a straight shooting advice for women might be this: Defer to men.

It’s not my advice, mind you, but a piece of advice I often hear. This is the kind of advice, no doubt, from someone who’s had a lot of experience career-wise. Speaking frankly, they want you to lean on your male counterparts and hopefully ride on their coattails. Hopefully, this way, you’ll have a smooth sailing and avoid many ups and downs.

Hopefully, emphasis on hopefully. This is in the same vein as the advice I often hear elders say to young men: If you know what’s good for you, just follow orders and do what the boss tells you to do.

Well, I say, follow the advice at your own peril.

I mean, are these really good advice to give to youngsters?

Fortunately, the youngster has time on his or her side. I mean, a career lasts for a while, usually does. Take your time and you’ll all find out all about it.

Back to straight shooting. That means the speaker is forthright and frank. They speak what’s on their mind without hiding anything. They don’t beat about the bush. They’re being honest with you.

Well, that’s relief.

All right, media examples:

1. Our newspaper has had a number of very good environmental reporters over the years, one of them the always straight-shooting Jim Nickles, rest his soul.

In the late 1990s, I ambled over to Jim’s desk to get his thoughts on some iteration of news dealing with the monolithic CALFED/Bay Delta program that was charged with overhauling California’s water policy.

“Who are the big winners with this development?” I asked Jim, only two see him form a facial expression that was 50 percent smirk and 50 percent disgust.

“The winners? Oh, that would be the water lawyers,” he responded.

Jim came to mind on Monday past when the literal floodgates were opened for Lawsuit-apolooza dealing with the gem of our area, the San Joaquin Delta.

There were seven - count ’em, seven - lawsuits filed over the state’s new plan that would govern the Delta through the end of the current century.

It was such a noble - yet naïve - thought that water parties could actually agree on something. The plan approved by the Delta Stewardship Council begat a flurry of legal action.

Delta farmers sued. Farmers from further south in the San Joaquin Valley sued. Cities sued. Agencies and coalitions sued.

- Familiar feeling as lawsuits ripple across the Delta, by Mike Klocke,, June 23, 2013.

2. What makes a great leader? Although the core ingredients of leadership are universal (good judgment, integrity, and people skills), the full recipe for successful leadership requires culture-specific condiments. The main reason for this is that cultures differ in their implicit theories of leadership, the lay beliefs about the qualities that individuals need to display to be considered leaders. Depending on the cultural context, your typical style and behavioral tendencies may be an asset or a weakness. In other words, good leadership is largely personality in the right place.

Research has shown that leaders’ decision making, communication style, and dark-side tendencies are influenced by the geographical region in which they operate. Below we review six major leadership types that illustrate some of these findings.

Decision Making

The synchronized leader. Follow-through is key to being seen as leadership material in regions such as Northeast Asia (e.g., Mainland China, South Korea, and Japan), Indonesia, Thailand, the UAE, and much of Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile). In order to ascend the organizational ranks, such leaders must seek consensus on decisions and drive others through a keen process orientation. Business cycles can take longer as a result. But once all stakeholders are onboard, the deal needs to close fast or there is risk of jeopardizing the agreement. Synchronized leaders tend to be prudent and are more focused on potential threats than rewards.

The opportunistic leader. Leaders who self-initiate and demonstrate flexibility on how to achieve a goal tend to be more desirable in Germanic and Nordic Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway), the UK, Western countries on which the UK had substantial cultural influence (the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand), and Asian countries that based their governing and economic institutions on the British model (India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong). More or less individualistic, these leaders thrive in ambiguity. However, checking in frequently with team members is advised to ensure others keep up with changing plans. Opportunistic leaders tend to be ambitious risk takers.

Communication Style

The straight-shooting leader. In some regions employees expect their leaders to confront issues straightforwardly. In Northeast Asia and countries like the Netherlands, excessive communication is less appealing in the leadership ranks — people just want you to get to the point. Accordingly, task-oriented leaders are preferred. Impromptu performance review meetings with direct reports occur more commonly in these locations, and leaders address undesirable behaviors from team members as soon as they are observed. Straight-shooting leaders tend to be less interpersonally sensitive.

The diplomatic leader. In certain countries communication finesse and careful messaging are important not only to getting along but also to getting ahead. In places like New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, and much of Latin America, employees prefer to work for bosses who are able to keep business conversations pleasant and friendly. Constructive confrontation needs to be handled with empathy. Leaders in these locations are expected to continuously gauge audience reactions during negotiations and meetings. These types of managers adjust their messaging to keep the discussion affable; direct communication is seen as unnecessarily harsh. Diplomatic leaders tend to be polite and agreeable.

Dark-side tendencies

The “kiss up/kick down” leader. When organizations emphasize rank, emerging leaders tend to develop unique coping skills. It is a leader’s job to implement mandates from above with lower-level employees. If overused, this strength can lead to a “kiss up/kick down” leadership style, characterized by excessive deference or sudden attention to detail when reporting up, and issuing fiery directives or refusing to compromise when commanding subordinates. Though never a good thing, this derailer is tolerated more in certain countries, such as Western Asia (Turkey, India, UAE), Serbia, Greece, Kenya, and South Korea. “Kiss up/kick down” leaders tend to be diligent and dutiful with their bosses but intense and dominating with their reports.

The passive-aggressive leader. Some leaders become cynical, mistrusting, and eventually covertly resistant, particularly under stress. These reactions usually occur when the individual is forced to pursue an objective or carry out a task without being won over or in the absence of sound rationale. Though being overtly cooperative while maintaining a level of skepticism can be beneficial in group settings, these behaviors can also hinder execution. Leaders with this style are more widely accepted in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it doesn’t seem to impede their advancement. Passive-aggressive leaders tend to be critical and resentful. Ironically, their aversion to conflict often generates a great deal of conflict.

To be sure, it is possible for any individual to adjust their leadership style to fit the relevant context. However, it requires a great deal of effort to go against one’s natural tendencies and predispositions, and habits are hard to break. It is also important to take into account the culture of the organization, which requires a much more granular level of analysis to identify the qualities that promote and inhibit success. When senior leaders succeed, they often redefine culture in a way that is a direct reflection of their own personality. Thus culture is mostly the sum of the values and beliefs of influential past leaders.

- What Leadership Looks Like in Different Cultures,, May 6, 2016.

3. Bust a permanent move to the suburbs, and for the first months your soundtrack might see heavy rotation of Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good.” It’s just the song to accompany the hopeful, sometimes desperate feeling that comes when contemplating your dining options.

True, you now have easy parking. True, the kids have a yard. True, Family Night at Bertucci’s is starting to look like a culinary pinnacle.

And no disrespect to Bertucci’s. The chain fills a precise need. Yet there remains a hunger for local dining that’s more ambitious.

This chasm must have struck Jen and Josh Ziskin, owners of much-loved La Morra in Brookline. Because in June 2015, they took over what had been the Sherborn Inn, which dates back to 1762, and replaced it with their second restaurant, Heritage of Sherborn.


Again and again, the generosity at Heritage is keyed to win you over. A glass of wine here is half again deeper than its city sister. The cocktails are equally outsize. And if the desserts are straight-shooting — apple crisp, pumpkin mousse, homemade ice creams, and the like — they’re also large and satisfying and sweetly shareable.

- Generosity wins the day at Heritage of Sherborn,, November 15, 2016.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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