Crestcom International asks 10 leadership development experts to define multicultural leadership.
Multicultural leadership is a skill that is becoming ever more important as globalization shrinks the world and the workplace becomes increasingly diverse. We surveyed several leadership development experts from around the world to discover their insights into what multicultural leadership means to them and their diverse clients.
“A good multicultural leader demonstrates excellence in skills including listening, patience, respect, and helpfulness while remaining courteous. A multicultural leader will show respect for as well as make accommodations to allow individuals of different cultures to interact and contribute comfortably with those of different cultures and beliefs.”
“Multicultural leadership is leading a global workforce with distributed teams from across the world – having team members drawn from different countries, cultures, languages, religious beliefs, and ethnicity. Great multicultural leadership requires flat organizational structures.”
“Multicultural leadership is the ability to work positively and in harmony with people of many different cultures.
In the case of the environment in Bangkok, of course, we deal with Thai nationals, but even they are divided in cultural beliefs. It is not possible to put them into “boxes.” For example, cultural values in Bangkok are very different from the north east, where they speak different dialects and have different interpretations of religion and language. They are also more similar to Cambodian/Laotian in their nature. We also have many muslim groups in the south of the country, and growing in Bangkok city. Then in the north we have a strong Thai-Chinese culture.
We also work with a wide range of managers and participants who are expatriates, working in French companies such as Essilor, Sodexo. Danish companies like Maersk, English companies like Senior Aerospace, Triumph Motorcycles, Korean giants like Hanon Systems, American companies, Australian, English, Swedish, Finnish, etc., and not to forget large Thai-owned corporations. What we have learned is that it is not possible to “generalise”.”
“I would define multicultural leadership as leader-managers having a good understanding of and being sensitive to different cultures across multiple geographies.”
“Multicultural leadership is the ability to inspire others from different parts of the hemisphere to work toward a shared vision in a harmonized rhythm despite their cultural differences (not appealing more or less to any one group).”
“Tweet this: Multicultural leadership is the understanding that the differences in cultures (communication, norms, perspectives, common strategies) provide an advantage in business. When different cultures are both engaged and respected, the group as a whole will have a stronger possibility of success.”
“Multicultural leadership is leadership based on embracing the enormous contributions, learning potential, and valuable insights that come from leaders in diverse communities.”
“Multicultural leaders are able to lead and engage teams who are of diverse cultural backgrounds (ethnic, geographic, experience, and corporate) to achieve a common goal.”
“A multicultural leader is a person capable of applying multicultural leadership by understanding the value of diverse cultures. They get to know deeply other cultures and gets involved, unlocking insight into how to best reach customers, inspire employees, and drive organizational performance in diverse geographies, impacting business strategies and results.”
“Multicultural leadership is the ability, in the role of a manager/leader to recognize and understand how cultural background may affect a person’s (employee, peer or other) attitude and work performance in different situations. It is also the ability to take this understanding and help people from different backgrounds work together effectively.”