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Leader and Cultural Sensitivity

Discuss: What important steps can a leader take to demonstrate that he or she respects a group member from another culture? Why is cultural understanding so significant in today's changing world?

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Hi,

These questions are interesting and timely in today's global economy. Let's take a closer look at the two questions. I also think it would be useful if you read an article found at this website: http://amchron.soundenterprises.net/articles/view/33538. The article is called: "Cultural Sensitivity for Global Leaders".

1. What important steps can a leader take to demonstrate that he or she respects a group member from another culture?

Cultural sensitivity is an awareness and honest respect about other people's cultures (Khan, 2007, from attached article). The leader can take important steps to demonstrate she or he respects a group member from another culture, such as:
a. To take initiatives to learn and be knowledgeable in all cultural mores/customs of the members.
b. To demonstrate this knowledge that you understand their culture in all interaction with the person(s) e.g., if direct eye contact is considered rude in a certain culture, be sensitive to this and use indirect eye contact with this member.
c. To be transparent and openly discuss cultural differences with the team members.
d. To encourage employee involvement in sensitivity initiatives about diversity issues, which demonstrates your concern and interest in cultural issues.
e. To invite and be open to feedback and constructive criticism from members if you miss the mark (e.g., I have taken steps to learn about various cultures, but if you feel that I have did something otherwise, please feel free to discuss it with me. I want you to know that it is not done intentionally).

For example, Dr. Khan (2007) reports several strategies, skills and competencies for leaders to acquire in order to be in a position to demonstrate cultural sensitivity to members from different cultures:
1. Take initiative to understand other cultures
2. Genuinely respect others
3. Identify commonalities
4. Use of straightforward language
5. Avoid criticism
6. Seek something good in others and avoid ...

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