Cross-Cultural Leadership – Definition, Importance, and More

Cross-Cultural Leadership

Welcome, all to this article. In today’s article, we will be learning about the Definition of Culture and Leadership, Hofstede’s Framework of understanding Multi-Cultural impact, What is Cross-Cultural Leadership, Why is Cross-Cultural Leadership important for organizations and Industries, 10 components to become a good Cross-Cultural Leader, Benefits of Cross-Cultural Leadership. The article includes examples and Illustrations to understand more in a thought-provoking manner.

Have you ever been inspired by any of your leader’s speeches by consuming their content in any form like video, podcasts, or books, and try following it in any situation of your professional life?? Or had you treated a group of peers, colleagues, or people equally as a good guide, and it could be your role as teacher, professor, or mentor as well? If it is probably YES, then you are naturally a good leader. But a leader to lead a confined portion of people doesn’t necessarily bring out the guiding and shaping qualities needed for the unfamiliar zone or set of unfamiliar people who are yet to learn from a leader. Formally those kinds of leaders are unpracticed to preach a new set of people or zone.

This is where the familiar zone of preaching is upgraded to an unfamiliar zone for a leader to guide them on a valuable path. The leadership is not a confined set of ushering people to develop their skills and feeding good values; the challenging part is you wouldn’t focus only on a defined set of people or group alone. Once you start knowing that you can inspire a small defined set of people, come out of the regular zone and check out that millions of people require your guidance and love. So, a leadership concept is not a one-way point to narrow down. Its broad scope or vision of an unbiased leader to look beyond the limit of a defined set of people.

Think of some famous leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and the list goes on, who had impressed and captured our hearts and minds in various manipulative circumstances that they demonstrated for all the people and benefited them. Nowadays, the young generation doesn’t expect a teacher to teach academics-oriented studies dealing with paper and pen. They expect the teacher to guide them in a friendly manner who can easily shape their attitude and inculcate the academics, which positions in second place of younger folks’ mindset.

This is a simple illustration to understand the teacher(Leader)-student(Learner) relationship. Still, at a serious notion in forms of an organization perspective, the learning should be approached and gained by the employees from a versatile mentor(Leader) who shapes their career and take them to successive moves in their professional career. The other way in today’s world, the gainer seeks a more empathizing and supportive leader who can understand their pain points in their career to grow up in life. That is how the leader must be aligned to what the beneficial seeker is expecting to solve his issues.

It is not very easy for a leader to know the common mindset of groups who belong to various languages, backgrounds, ethics that they follow, a lifestyle that they are into, etc. Because he might be into stereotypical hindering that fails him to distinguish different people’s ideas from diversified backgrounds, but this can be stitched with the help of collating the ideas, views, and listening to various people from different surroundings. This is where it becomes “one” in a million counts “a leader” is raised having such kind of qualities inherently. If not inherently, it is possible by continuous following at the very moment when a person starts practicing those qualities in daily life.

What is a Culture?

It is a study that distinguishes people by age, background, beliefs, values, ethnicity, morale, attitudes, behavior, etc., which turns out to be a non-identical way of understanding the diversified set of people. Most of the time, the problem arises when we try to unite all of them by not properly understanding the cultural aspects and not suit the needed circumstances. 

Who is a Leader?

A leader is one who motivates, supports, and listens to all the voices of his followers and acts as a value provoking guide to shape every individual to achieve their desired life. This can be a corporate based team leader, a school teacher, a class representative, a college representative, a politician, a prime minister, a president, etc. All these types of leaders persistently grow as an expert when their ideas, viewpoints, and inputs are collectively organized and sense when voicing the collated suggestions in front of them.

Various leaders follow various leadership styles in several professional and non-professional places. Each leader implements a different style of guiding the value seekers, and it needn’t be necessary for leaders to follow the same style of preaching. And here comes the most crucial part when becoming a successful leader. The leadership style plays a major role in making a leader unique when preaching the value seekers. That is how we can differentiate a leader is whether friendly, commanding, care-free, hot-headed, benevolent, etc. a leader is liked and inspired by value seekers when started understanding the way leader behaves and converses with them, which is nothing but the style is the main notion that I’m trying out bring it as a notable point.

Hofstede Framework of Understanding Multicultural Dimensions

Understanding multi-culture is not an easy task when bringing out the common necessities needed for fulfilling the circumstances related to myriads of people. Based on the institution and organization aspect, Hofstede researched finding out the 6 dimensions as this research results witnessed the cultural differences felt within a different set of people from other backgrounds,

  1. Power Distance Index: The proximity of power is distributed equally to the members and societies of living occurring together. This index’s higher degree indicates that the people have the power and equal sharing of whatever objective they want to be procured from a common leader. The lower degree is a counter-argument that the people seek an equal sharing of objectives and power from a common leader.
  1. Individualism vs. Collectivism: This dimension explains how closely people are together when picking decisions and enjoying the benefit together. The higher degree of this dimension is where the whole population stays together united. The lower degree is the decisions are biased and not staying together, which impacts the circumstances’ growth. At this level, the growth stagnates.
  1. Uncertainty Avoidance Index: This index explains the level of ambiguities faced by the whole set of people when following the leader. The higher degree of this Index is where the people are rigid to one decision, one truth, one belief of what the leader says and are complexed with living. In contrast to the lower degree, the people are freely unbiased by following rules less, multiple ideas and thoughts collated to form a new beginning that encourages everyone.
  1. Masculinity vs. Femininity: This tells about the equal sharing of thoughts and values to society. The Male counterpart society indicates a strong, dominating, determined, assertive way of behaving in front of the people that includes the female counterpart. The Female-based society indicates the motherly, touchwood, pampering, compassionate way of thinking and doing welfare and needs for society. So, it depends upon various countries whether it is a male-pooled or female-pooled society.
  1. Long-term and Short-term Orientation: This dimension focuses on present development or foreseeing the country’s future growth. This again depends upon the sole leader who cares about the country’s fortune and prosperity. If the leader focuses on the people and society’s current goals and needs, then it is the Short-term focus. But on the contrary, the Long-term growth anticipates the improvement made for the future aspects of the country’s advancement and development.
  1. Indulgence vs. Restraint: This dimension is when measuring the gratification level of needs gained by the people. When people achieve their desired level of needs, then the gratification level is certainly increased. On the contrary, people are less likely to achieve their desired level of needs; then, their gratification level is quickly decreased.

What is Cross-Cultural Leadership?

Now that we are familiar with the individual definition of culture, leader, it is easy for us to club together with the meaning of cross-culture. In my view, the act of guiding, supporting, motivating, and shaping the way people think globally is called cross-cultural leadership.

In a broad perspective, the approach must collectively know about population form from the different surroundings, collating all the ideas and views that must be designed in a way that is agreed by all the sets of the population. Probably, if your designed framework welcomes everyone with certainty and your style of preaching is inspired thoughtfully, you undoubtedly follow a cross-cultural way of guiding people.

There are very few in numbers that emerged as successful cross-cultural leaders and guided all of them. This is because only very few have the multi-cultural traits and qualities of knowing deeply about the people, listening to the people’s thoughts, and respecting their dignity. Cross-cultural leadership widely plays a major role in International Business Context and in the Multinational Corporation that are fond of retaining the employees and reducing the turnover rate to understand the cultural qualities in each of them.

Importance of Cross-Cultural Leadership in Organizations and Industries

The businesses don’t opt to follow the same old strategy once they know that the taste and preferences changed across their clients shift to a new strategic approach that satisfies the client’s needs. From a broader perspective, the business extends their bands to several regions and countries to understand and benefit those sets of the huge population by shaping the value that gives satisfaction to them. Some Companies and Industries are globally growing and remain a trendsetter for the people who would like to follow them.

  • Top companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Costco, Qualtrics, etc., are said to follow a versatile leadership style among all cultural background employees who work under them.

  • The senior leaders who belong to such an organization give importance to guiding and supporting the employees in understanding their nature, culture, attitude, behavior, and things decided based on that.

  • The employees are treated well and give them a platform to share their thoughts, experience, and provoke the advantage of diversified views and ideas expressed by them.

  • Such organizations focus on employee’s welfare and arrange multi-national events and conferences to build the employees’ experience and increase the brand image. This is a win-win benefit gained by employees as well as the organization.

  • The organization has also tremendously succeeded in decreasing its turnover rate, which helped increase the number of loyal employees to work for its growth and needs. As an example, such kinds of industries conducted various leadership programs and webinars all across the world to share their successful implementation of how multicultural leadership educated employees in the organization and how to deal with the business clients applying the same formula of understanding the different needs of those clients in a cross-culture point of view.

With all of these examples, we can easily realize that understanding culture needs tons of years, especially for growing business. These are the qualities that the companies must feed to develop their values worldwide to benefit the people who are inspired to follow them. For the people to get inspired, be good to them and try giving valuable solutions for which they are seeking for.

“10” to become a great Cross-Cultural Leader

There are 10 golden qualities that even a conventional person can become an extraordinary Cross-Cultural Leader by following the given below,

  1. Non-Assertive: This is practiced when a leader is giving a friendly approach of deciding things based on the facts, pieces of information, and other ideas revealed by a set of people when they are discussing together and try to make decisions out of that. It shouldn’t be deliberately summoning the people to follow the only rule on the universe. It is about having the courtesy to invite all of their viewpoints and mixing your views over that.

  2. Supportive: A good leader must support a good team. But if the team leads to multiple clubs and groups with several cultural differences, your support must be widened throughout the population who are willing to get guidance from you and thereby motivate them in multi-dimensional aspects. That is how followers of your support turn out to be vibrant, fresh, and confident enough to believe you.

  3. Seamless Communication: The biggest solution for uncertainty is communication between the associated groups of problem-seekers and problem solvers. An enormous amount of communication leads to gaining answers for the hardest problem unless staying with good communication. Here the leader must sole heartedly give-in the tireless way of communicating to the people who need solution held during uncertainties and try to mold all the viewpoints to a common problem raised between people.

  4. Listener: Leaders, especially those who need not be aligned with all the culture, must have good hearing skills when a different set of people voice out their needs in the form of their prefeed cultural habit. Some important habits tend to grow inherently, which is the nature of culture and its beauty explained in various personalities. You can’t blame there being more than 180 countries and 7000 + languages people speak. It is your responsibility and starts developing an interest in understanding their viewpoints to give valuable replies.

  5. Mentor: Being a mentor is different from coaching people. This mentoring quality embraces personal touch with different sets of people to understand each of the pain-points that are yet to be answered. It is a versatile quality of guiding them properly, focusing on their professional path and the personal path. A leader has to design some mentoring program that helps out the people to shape their future.

  6. Trust: This is an important quality that every cross-cultural leader must pull people in. This is where the conversations turn out to be relationships, and people start believing you as a solution giver to those commonly raised in the society. Trust factor must be increased at one point so that you can easily validate the common views and ideas to suit the needs of the various cultures joining together to get a valuable output from you. The leader must ensure that the trust transformation stage is happening from the initial point to the relationship point.

  7. Empathy: This is an emotional rope of tieing you with them together by arising the common attitudes and beliefs and framing them into valuable attitudes to get win-win positions for both of you. When you start understanding them from their perspective, you can bring out the common solution that facilitates the people and thereby follow your understanding of making a common decision that benefits them. This is a tit-for-tat process of deeply understanding them, and in turn, they understand you 3X more times because you empathize and give importance to them at the initial stage itself and create impact to become loyal to you.

  8. Highly Knowledgeable: The leader must also be entirely knowledgeable and skilled in teaching the society, employees, or students, or children, etc., with evolving facts, information, and stories to raise them in a value-based community and make them understand the cultural advantages and heritage of beauty in it. The togetherness attitude should be the first learning of the followers to behave with common behavior when seeking solutions in various aspects. 

  9. Cultural Aspects: The leader’s foremost mindset is to understand the cross-cultural differences and how they will benefit in a common environment that rationalizes people’s thoughts in a broader spectrum to respect all the different cultures evolving in this world. It would be a connecting node between various groups of people to an ideal leader who is well-versed in understanding them. Provided the common goal must remain intact with both the parties(The Leader and Various Groups).

  10. Unbiased Nature: Of course, the leader must have an unbiased mindset to avoid the wrong notion and prejudiced thinking when making a proper decision in front of a diversified crowd. One of the dimensions called the “Power Distance Index” explained in Hofstede’s framework tells about the proximity of treating people with inequality and sharing common viewpoints in an unprejudiced manner. People follow the leader by putting their views and voicing a valuable decision to get justice for their common solution.

Benefits of Cross-Cultural Leadership

  • Practicing Cross-Cultural Leadership leads to active innovation and ideas from the followers who turn the usual way of thinking about the arrival of common beneficial solutions.

  • It helps everybody understand the different cultural styles, backgrounds, and aspects of a set of people who share their viewpoints, which educates us into new learning.

  • It eradicates the cultural conflicts that happen commonly when groups of different cultural communities unite together when raising their perspective to bring a good solution.

  • Cross-Cultural Leadership holds the employees who work from different regions, nations together, and organizations. If properly practicing this kind of leadership, employees’ churning rate will get reduced and retain loyal employees in the long-run.

  • Global Peace and Harmony are maintained.


As we now understand the importance of how Cross-Cultural Leadership plays a role in the Global Economy, we must start following cultural learning, which educates us to know more about their preference, style, ethnicity oriented people’s viewpoint and much more about them. We also understand how International Businesses and Multinational Companies concentrate more on this leadership pattern, which must be followed in their organization to benefit the whole set of employees and clients. Also, try to inculcate the 10 components of becoming a great Cross-cultural Leader to show yourself as a great guide and share your support and love with all people’s cultural-sets. Meet you with another interesting article!!

Also read Leadership: Definition, Qualities, and Importance

Cross-Cultural Leadership – Definition, Importance, and More

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