Cultural Intelligence

Where globalisation has affected many areas of our lives and changed the way we do things, it has had an
equally significant impact on business leadership. Developing global leadership has become an immediate
challenge, and cultural intelligence plays a crucial role in the make-up of global leaders. Cultural Intelligence
has emerged as the critical skill compelling leaders to be aware of other cultures and their differences, and
how combining that awareness with their leadership style can affect success.
I am sure you all must have experienced globalisation through interactions with global participants that
belong to at least one, or perhaps more, of these four key categories customers, competitors, suppliers, or
employees, in your work experience and have had your share of learnings.

You’ll agree on one thing while interacting with cultural diversity, on the one hand, we learn new ways of
thinking but on the other side, we may find it challenging to understand some behaviours and their
underlying drivers, that’s where cultural awareness helps. A culturally attuned leader would know these
cultural differences and manage them with emotional intelligence.

I’ll share with you Hofstede’s 6-dimensional cultural framework here who is an authority on national
cultures. Hofstede’s 6-dimensional framework highlights six areas of cultural influences that countries and
geographies may have on its people which ultimately shape their behaviours reflecting in their conduct in a
day to day life. I find it very useful while collaborating with different cultures, and I hope you’ll find it useful
too.

  1. Individualism vs collectivism, an extent to which people feel independent, as opposed to being
    interdependent as members of larger wholes.
  2. Power Distance, a degree to which the less powerful members of organisations and institutions
    (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.
  3. Masculinity is the extent to which the use of force in endorsed socially.
  4. Uncertainty avoidance deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity.
  5. Long-term orientation deals with change.
  6. Indulgence versus restrained is about how much people in a culture are free to make choices in
    life based on what they want and not they should do as a duty.

If we’re aware of cultural backgrounds of the culturally diverse group we’re interacting with, we’ll be in a
position of control where we can better manage human interactions and any differences resulting in better
results for the business.

Cultural intelligence in today’s world is being linked to Emotional intelligence, both critical skills for
leadership and the success of any business.

To learn more on Cross cultural management please check out;