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The 7 Transformations of Leadership
Authentic Leadership Communication
Decision Making in Multiple Contexts
Inner Leadership and Psychosynthesis
Inspirational Leadership
Integral Leadership
Leadership Networking
Leading across Cultures
Stages of Leadership
Nelson Mandela's Journey
Mintzberg on Managing
Mintzberg's Conundrums of Managing
Playing at Leadership?
The Set-Up-To-Fail Syndrome
The Heroes of Everday Life - Poem
What is the Job of a Manager?
Why Every CEO Should Have a Coach - compilation (pdf)

Leading across Cultures

Elsewhere in this website, I presented some results from the Myers Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI). One of the benefits from knowing your own particular type preferences on an instrument of this kind is the insight it can give you into how you are in the world. Another equally important benefit is recognising that other people may have very different (and equally valid) ways of being in the world. Recognising these differences can help us value, work with, and even welcome people's diversity.

At a cultural level (ie, at the level that distinguishes one group of people from another, rather than one individual from another), it is equally important and valuable to be aware of differing preferences. Leaders and coaches wanting to work across cultures need to know what the key dimensions of difference are. Coaching Across Cultures: New Tools for Leveraging National, Corporate and Professional Differences by Philippe Rosinski presents an integrative model, the Cultural Orientations Framework (COF) that maps 17 key dimensions of the cultural territory (see diagram).

For example some cultures have a preference for direct communication (as in the United States), saying what they mean and meaning what they say. Their cultural orientation then is "direct communication" - in contrast with Asians' typical indirectness where much may be left unsaid and only hinted at. Rosinski uses as an example of the indirect approach the scene in The Godfather, Part II where Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, is on trial and about to be accused by a witness of mafia activities. But Michael Corleone's men bring the witness's brother with them to observe the trial. Nothing is said but the witness immediately gets the message "If you testify, your brother will suffer". He doesn't testify!

A sensitivity to these cultural dimensions is increasingly important as we seek more frequently to lead and coach across cultures. The COF lays out the primary ways in which people's worldviews differ and hence provides a way of challenging cultural assumptions and enabling more effective work across cultures - both internationally and when working with people from various organisations and backgrounds.

Copyright © 2013. Dr M H Munro Turner. All rights reserved