PART 1: EXAMPLE OF AN OUTSTANDING LEADER FROM A DIFFERENT CULTURE
Although it’s difficult to say with 100% certainty that Cleopatra was a good example of multicultural leadership since she lived so long ago, I’m confident that she fits the bill because, according to BBC, she ruled Egypt with success and also worked well with the Roman military to secure the rule of Egypt. I’m not well versed in either of those countries or their cultural attitudes toward leadership, but I am sure they were very different and that politically navigating within each would require an extensive understanding of each culture and its values, and how to apply them to a leadership situation.
PART 2: RESULTS OF DIMENSIONS OF CULTURE QUESTIONNAIRE
The society I had in mind while answering these questions was RIT.
Uncertainty Avoidance: 3.5
Power Distance: 3.5
Institutional Collectivism: 3
In-group Collectivism: 7
Gender Egalitarianism: 4
Future Orientation: 5.5
Performance Orientation: 6.5
Humane Orientation: 4.5
PART 3: QUESTIONS
a. Do you agree or disagree with the results? Why?
I do agree that RIT fits at least most of these results. I think it fits that uncertainty avoidance is low, since RIT stresses innovation and ingenuity so much. We are definitely encouraged to respect our leaders, but American society was built on questioning the establishment and I think that’s reflected still in the authoritative systems we’ve built; however, students still are far removed from professors in the amount of power they hold over things such as their grades, hence the low but not nonexistent power distance score. America as a whole is known for its emphasis on the individual and assertiveness, so the low institutional collectivism and assertiveness scores are no surprise. In college, doing well in order to plan for the future tends to be the primary purpose, so we have high future and performance orientations. We are alright at being considerate of others, but still primarily focus on ourselves and our own success, which makes sense with the middling humane orientation score.
Gender egalitarianism is a subject that I’m very passionate about, but I don’t want to get into it too much here. Suffice it to say that I don’t think it’s as high as it should be. Women are starting to be more encouraged to obtain higher education, but men still tend to hold higher status. It’s frustrating.
The high in-group collectivism score might be biased around the people I spend my time with who all have highly educated, successful parents, and take pride in that.
b. How does the knowledge of culture affect your definition of leadership, if at all?
Culture is universal and affects all aspects of life, especially the way we interact with each other. In order to reflect the importance of culture to leadership in my (now rather lengthy) definition, I’m going to make the following changes:
Leadership is when a person or team has the knowledge, skills, drive, adaptability, and vision to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire and empower followers from all cultures and backgrounds to develop their skills, grow, and work with the group to achieve a common goal.
c. How does the knowledge of culture affect how you see yourself as a leader, if at all?
It doesn’t make me feel more or less of a leader, but it is another thing to keep in mind when making leadership decisions or actions. Hastings (2007) mentions that the best way to be inclusive in a multicultural workforce is t0 “Listen to different points of view, communicate in an open, give-and-take fashion, and welcome new ideas.” Since this is the way I try to conduct myself regardless of the situation, I’m sure that my newfound awareness of the cultural differences when it comes to leadership will only help me be a better leader.
d. What cultural characteristics do you need to display to be a better leader?
I think that, in order to become a better leader, I need to get better at identifying my own culture and how it affects the way I behave, both in leadership situations and in my regular daily life. I consider myself very tolerant of other beliefs and customs, but as Northouse says, everyone has a little bit of an ethnocentric bend to them, whether it is conscious or not. I need to improve the way I evaluate my actions from a cultural standpoint. I also need to get better at having conversations about culture with those from different backgrounds, because the more I know, the better.