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How is Trans-global& Cross-cultural leadership different?

Many people are still confusing cross-cultural and trans-global leadership including some diversity experts. They mix between both as if they were one and the same. I beg to differ.

While both sound like sharing the same definition, in actuality there is a difference between both.

Nowadays in order to succeed as a leader, as a business, and as an organization the need for cross-cultural and trans-global competencies is crucial.

In the age of the internet, the political and economic reforms like the falling of the Berlin wall, the disintegration of the USSR, ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, EU as well as the emerging BRIC countries like (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) as well as well as the MIKT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey); it becomes clear and evident that organizations’ leaders need to build not only trans-global competence but also cross-cultural competence, awareness and flexibility to have the ability and capability to survive and thrive in the new reality of the flat world we live in.

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s 14th Annual Global CEO Survey found that ‘‘bridging the global skills gap’’ was one of the top concerns cited for the future, especially for organizations that are looking to attract, recruit, develop, and retain talents globally.

Confusion, frustration and costly mistakes are the results of lack of global skills mainly due to the ignorance about the impact of cultures on the workplace (we will discuss cultures here below).

The old mentality of “We have always done it that way” leads to expensive failures, same with the idea of “Color blindness” (though could be coming from a good place) is actually detrimental to the workplace because there is an erroneous belief that paying attention to color or race is fundamentally discriminative.

To ignore cultural differences is unproductive… Choosing not to see cultural diversity limits our ability to manage it – that is, to minimize the problems it causes while maximizing the advantages it allows… When we blind ourselves to cultural diversity, foreigners become mere projections of ourselves.” (Adler, 1991, pp. 97)

The most important facets of trans-global leadership are the following three main competencies:

  1. Being Culturally flexible: Basically to roll with the punches realizing that there are differences in other countries, populations, and cultures that are not wrong or weird, just different

  2. Value Cultural differences and Minimize Ethnocentricity (My culture is better than yours theory)

  3. Tolerance of ambiguity (Which is part of Geert Hofstede four main components of Cultural insights)

Now what about the cross-cultural leaders; how and why they are different from the trans-global leaders?

Though both leaders must have the trans-global competencies mentioned above, there is a lot more to add for the cross-cultural leaders.

There is still a misguided assumption that Culture pertains only to race, color, religion, and ethnicity: meaning that there is still a lot of confusion between Diversity and Affirmative Action or even Protected groups.

Diversity are t