Culturally Intelligent Leadership

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Confidence is also important, because interacting with different cultures can be challenging. Cultural knowledge isn't about learning a new culture inside out. Rather, it means learning about how culture in general shapes someone's behaviors, values, and beliefs. To broaden your knowledge of this, start by learning about a culture that you're interested in, or that you're working with. Whenever possible, watch people from these different cultures interact. Pay careful attention to their body language. For example, do specific gestures and facial expressions mean different things to different people?

And research the significance of particular behaviors, beliefs, and rituals to understand the way that they are likely to affect your working relationships. It's also important to learn about how a culture's history affects people's values and actions. Again, begin with a culture that interests you or with which you are familiar, and explore how past events drive current behavior.

It's especially important to understand a country or region's history when relocating there, or when putting together a local team.

How to Organize Better Virtual Meetings

Try to learn about the background of the region, nation, or ethnic group that you're going to interact with. Even a basic understanding of past events can give you more of an insight into people's values and behaviors, and it will help you avoid obvious faux pas. Use our " Managing in The "strategy" component of cultural intelligence describes the often instinctive planning that you do as a result of being culturally aware. It involves taking what you have learned from being aware of cultural differences, and making robust, culturally sensitive plans as a result.

This is actually quite simple — if you make a habit of thinking about cultural differences and their impacts, they will naturally feed into your planning. First, question your assumptions about why things happen differently in different cultures. This example shows how an understanding of Japanese culture could help you to phrase requests in a different way in the future.

It also shows how the concept of politeness differs across cultures. A manager who understands this would change the way that he asks people to do things, when working with colleagues in other cultures. You can also improve your awareness of cultural interactions, whether at work or in public, or by studying local media, movies or magazine articles.

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This reveals new insights into how culture affects people's working lives. Livermore suggests keeping a diary of your cultural observations, noting down your frustrations as well as your successes. You can then use your notes when you are solving cross-cultural challenges. The last part of cultural intelligence relates to how you behave, and, in particular, how well you adapt when things don't go according to plan.

Leadership styles: The role of cultural intelligence

When observing a different culture, pay close attention to what people say and do. For example, explore their voice intonations, body language, and conversation style. This will give you a deeper understanding of them, and help you interact with them in a better way. Cultural intelligence is someone's ability to adapt to different cultures and to understand people's values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

Culturally intelligent people can then use this information to communicate, collaborate, and negotiate with people from diverse backgrounds. According to Dr David Livermore, an expert in cultural intelligence, it consists of four components:.

Why You Need Cultural Intelligence

The term "culture" is often used as a synonym for nationality or ethnicity. By that I mean we should address our notions of how we manage our people. We can no longer dismiss how things are done elsewhere in the world. Our ideas of leading and managing teams are based on methods that have a common bias towards Western- or European-influenced ways of working. These can be very disconcerting for many cultures where speaking-up is seen as disrespectful and self-reliance as being selfish or immature and time is not so scarce.

In cultures where time is used for building relationships not work processes, learning to communicate better becomes essential. The world speaks English and Business has been constructed in our own image. We do, we act and we think business in our cultural mode, and expect the world to do the same.

Therefore, when things go wrong repeatedly we tend to look for many sorts of causes, but never that there is a cultural mismatch. In fact, cultural diversity can be the cause of many underlying problems in the workplace that most people fail to recognise stem from that. Competition for talent is fierce and the demographics of the workforce are rapidly changing.

Helping your people develop culturally intelligent leadership will reap dividends: building on brand reputation, increasing customer retention and adding to the bottom-line. Culture is the lens through which you view the world. Your culture is like wearing a pair of spectacles that becomes central to what you see, how you make sense of what you see, and how you express yourself. Our cultural programming shapes our behaviour. It is the perceived deviation by other cultures from our version of normality that causes problems or miscommunication.

People tend to think of the world as an increasingly homogenous place but it is really a collection of worlds within worlds, with definite boundaries and edges.


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If you want to get on in business across the globe, it takes a combination of good self-awareness, cross-cultural knowledge and cultural sensitivity to be effective. Most importantly, studies have revealed that the really successful people have personal attributes such as openness, flexibility and resilience. If you are one of these types you are well on your way to developing cultural intelligent leadership; understanding that the world is more like a mixed salad where each ingredient is valued for its own flavour and texture.

More than ever before there is a real chance to develop better understanding and see what creative approaches and innovations can transgress culture and difference to make a positive impact on our organisations. Already they have a greater overall engagement with the social web than users in the West; their use of online services and internet buying is greater than our own. University of Iowa Search. Part 1: Cultural Intelligence for the Global Workplace Thursday, January 18, pmpm Explore universal leadership attributes and cultural values orientations connected to various cultures.

Part 2: NCBI Training Thursday, January 25, pmpm Engage in an all-day, highly interactive training based on social and emotional learning to begin self-reflection and sharing. Discuss messages everyone internalizes about one's own and others' groups, correct misinformation in caucus sessions, learn through personal stories, and begin practicing how to respond to hurtful jokes, comments, and slurs. Part 3: Developing Your Cultural Intelligence Thursday, February 1, pmpm Discuss and debrief about how to synthesize their experiences from prior sessions to identify areas for possible growth.

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