Ten Tips for Intercultural Leadership

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cross cultural leadership

Few successful businesses are now mono-cultural in their make-up. Even if a business or organization is not dealing internationally the chances are that they employ people from foreign countries. At a higher level globalisation has meant companies are having to look further a field for new revenue streams, products, services, etc. This requires working and dealing with people from different cultures.

The leaders of today’s organisations and businesses need to be adept at managing people of different cultures. They need to be able to grasp the essence of each culture quickly, because culture is so important in shaping customer or employee behaviour. Leaders must also learn to shape culture (at least that in their own organisations) so that it is positive, and aligned with the direction the organization is taking.

For those looking to the subject and wanting some quick tips on how to improve their intercultural leadership qualities, the following simple tips can get you on your way.

1. Learn about the cultures of people that you work and interact with. Start from scratch and forget your assumptions and stereotypes. There are many free online resources.

2. Get a book about intercultural communication and learn about the subject from an academic level. Noted academics such as Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars and David Hall have all published books that will go a long way in unravelling the intricacies of cultural differences.

3. Take some formal training from intercultural experts. For very little outlay a day course can go a long way in helping you understand how culture impacts you and your work.

4. Try and attend events or occasions where you can submerge yourself in another culture. Use the opportunity to observe how people communicate and interact with one another. If you get the chance to travel abroad do the same when there.

5. Start listening and paying more attention when dealing with someone from another culture. You will be surprised how much you pick up by slowing down. Don’t jump to conclusions and think actions and behaviours through.

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