diverse group of people holding hands in the air

Knowledge of leadership

Do you have the knowledge necessary to manage people different from you? Can you lead people from a different culture? Are you able to manage a diverse group of people?

CQ knowledge: leadership is understanding how leadership needs to change in various cultural contexts. For example, if you are leading in Germany which generally prefers a low power distance cultural value, you may empower decision making to be made across all levels in the organization. However, if you are a manager in Costa Rica which generally emphasizes a high power distance cultural value, then you expect only those in authority to make the decisions.

Leadership is often viewed as universal but in reality, it varies depending on the cultural context. One way to develop CQ knowledge: leadership is to learn about diverse leadership preferences and practices. Ask your team or the people that you manage to see how much they want their leaders to provide very specific instructions.

Take time to consider diverse perspectives. Intentionally seeking other viewpoints enhances CQ leadership. This is especially helpful when you identify a cultural or diverse group that represent a set of beliefs and norms that are in conflict with your own. You do not need to abandon your beliefs and convictions. The learning and development come from managing your thoughts and emotions as you increase the ability to reframe your perspective, understanding, and mindset. We know from research in the field of intercultural communication that a very small percentage of people are able to do this. It seems to me to be an essential skill of effective leaders who deal with diversity.

You might also explore the ten cultural value dimensions from week one and reflect on which cultural values are required knowledge for an effective cross-cultural leader. I suspect a manager working in a different cultural context might benefit from the knowledge of all ten cultural dimensions.

Perhaps you experienced CQ leadership directly or indirectly from a manager or leader who had the knowledge or lacked knowledge of cultural value dimensions. In what ways did this impact the leader’s effectiveness in managing a diverse organization. Please share your story in comments and join the discussion. Then mark this step complete.

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Develop Your Cultural Intelligence

Purdue University

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