Three Multicultural Leadership Competencies That Are Most Important

Leadership development experts from around the world weigh in on which multicultural leadership competencies are most important for leaders and managers to develop.

multicultural leadership competencies communicationGreat leadership is a fundamental need for organizations around the globe. As technology shrinks our world and allows us to communicate and work across political borders, the need to develop multicultural leadership competencies within leadership and management teams is becoming increasingly important.

We asked our global network of Crestcom leadership development experts which multicultural leadership competencies are most important for the success of a leader—and their organization. Their responses produced a list of the top three most important multicultural leadership competencies.

#1 Influencing Others

Leaders become effective at influencing others by listening and fostering open communication through questioning, dialogue, and information sharing. They are able to advocate for ideas and effectively negotiate to achieve mutually successful outcomes.

Tweet this: Influencing others can be difficult for a multicultural leader, as they have cultural barriers to overcome. They can develop this multicultural leadership competency by encouraging dialogue and improving their cultural intelligence.

#2 Developing Positive Relationships

Building partnerships and effective working relationships to meet shared objectives are at the core of developing positive relationships. Leaders of a multicultural workforce need to recognize their team members’ accomplishments and show respect for people, ideas, and perspectives. Strong leaders maintain relationships by positively resolving interpersonal disagreement and conflict.

Ensuring that everyone is working toward the same objective can be difficult for a leader who is managing a team across different locations and cultures. By making course corrections when needed and celebrating achievements, multicultural leaders can succeed in developing and maintaining positive relationships.

Conflicts often arise in the workplace. In fact, managers typically spend 25 to 40% of their time on conflict-related issues! This can become exacerbated by cultural differences such as communication styles, emotional intelligence, openness, and work formality expectations.

#3 Building the Right Team

multicultural leadership competenciesLeaders around the world need to be able to attract, select, and form teams with diverse styles and perspectives. This diversity can sometimes make it difficult to work together effectively and solidify as a team, requiring the leader to foster productive and collaborative teamwork and a sense of belonging for all team members.

Hiring for cultural diversity has become a bit of a problem as HR managers are increasingly encouraged to focus on hiring for company culture fit. In partnership with Big Data, this trend can lead to cultural homogeny as people from different cultures generally differ in personality styles. For example, people from Asian cultures are often quieter and more formal than their more boisterous American counterparts.

A manager striving to develop their multicultural leadership competencies must look past these cultural differences to appreciate the perspectives, experiences, and innovation that a multicultural team can provide. Global trends indicate that the ability to work and manage a diversity of cultures will only become more important in the future. Developing your multicultural leadership competencies will improve your effectiveness as a leader and produce lasting results for your organization.