Group leaders-Cheer leaders-All sorts of other leaders
Or the point western European HR miss about easterners
When evaluating job applications Human Resources professionals often look attentively what the candidate does outside their studies or work, the hobby they have, the volunteering activity their lead, things like this.
So I was told by many western HR specialists I met. Speaking of younger age groups, I saw lots of university professors who also highly value pro-active students involved in many things outside university classes. What is striking for me is an amount of appreciation a candidate like this would get from the HR and professors if within these extra activities he or she would have a role of a leader or any other position of supervision above the peers. A candidate like this would almost win the love of HR professionals or professors who examine their job applications and university presentations.
The thing is that, as a person with eastern European roots, I also saw how my western acquaintances looked at candidates from the east through the these same lens: ‘oh, she or he was a group leader at their hypothetical Ukrainian university! That makes for a very strong candidate’. When in fact, it does not.
Not that in the eastern Europe being a group leader automatically transforms you into a scumbag. But it definitely has less of a positive meaning than it does in the west. Because local leaders here are known on a personal level as sleazy, murky and career-driven souls who fit the best into the roles of middle-men / women between on the one side, the large public of students/employees/citizens and on the other, school/university/government officials.
The main role of group leaders is to be the face of the group in front of official institutions. On one side, you have a frank, kind, brave, sometimes irresponsible and argumentative society — millions of people like the US podcaster Joe Rogan — and on the other side, an authoritarian, malicious, corrupt, fake and cruel administration — a kind of an incarnation of the worst things for which the Soviet Union was known and which upon its collapse in the 90s it had bequeathed upon eastern European public administrations and the employees working for them.
In this light, obviously a Soviet or North Korean style university dean or public official would much more prefer to deal with a servile and sleazy group leader than with a principled representative of society who would not care to be a ‘yes-man’. I would love to see western HR people understand this and to take into account not only the real organisational skills of our group leaders but also their personal, often dark, side.
They are not our Supermen and Luke Skywalkers, they are our Hillary Clintons and Darth Vaders.