May 24, 2019

Competencies for Leadership in Inter-Cultural Environments

17 recommended competencies developed by the Kozai Group.

While most business leaders and leadership educators agree that preparing people for the demands of globalization is vitally important, the question of how this education is best carried out is not as clear.

What is apparent and is supported by global leaders who face the challenges of leading in Inter-Cultural environments, is that training for Inter-Cultural competencies must take a holistic and multi-dimensional approach that focuses both on the intra-personal levels as well as the relational and behavioral levels.

It is with this in mind that KnowledgeWorkx supports the thinking of Stephen Rhinesmith. We heartily recommend his Managers Guide to globalization as a useful foundational guide for leaders seeking to develop Inter-Cultural Skills. .

It is a greater challenge to recommend a competency tool that provides a list of competencies focused enough to help leaders, which is widely recognized enough to be implemented by HR departments whose competency criteria are often 10 to 15 years old. However, we have got that covered.

Kozai’s GCI global competency inventory and the 17 competencies we recommend to develop and measure for global leaders

The GCI has become an internationally accepted measurement tool and they have divided the competencies that a global manager needs into three main areas.

Perception Management is related to Inter-Cultural Intelligence and includes areas such as non-judgementalness, tolerance of ambiguity and cosmopolitanism. It examines the way people think about people who don’t share our cultural norms and ultimately our behavior toward them. Non-judgementalness refers to the extent to which one is inclined to withhold or suspend judgment about persons or situations or behavior that is new or unfamiliar.

Relationship Management is related to Inter-Personal Intelligence and includes areas such as interpersonal engagements, social flexibility, self-awareness and behavioral flexibility. The development of positive relationships in an intercultural environment is a critical aspect of effective performance in working globally. Relationship Management assesses our orientation toward the importance of relationshipsand how we manage and maintain. As an example, Social Flexibility looks at how individuals present themselves to others in order to create favorable impressions and to facilitate relationship building. High social flexibility helps people adjust their behavior to fit each situation in order to favorably connect with people they do not know well.

Self Management is related to Intra-Personal Intelligence and includes areas such as self-confidence, self-identity, emotional resilience, and stress management. It assesses our strength of identity and tendency to care for, the ’self.’ Self-Identity, for example, refers to the extent to which people maintain personal values independent of situational factors. We must be able to understand and adapt to the foreign environment and its people in order to be effective in a global context, yet we must also be able to maintain a stable sense of self in order to remain mentally and emotionally healthy.

Supporting global leaders in developing the GCI competencies

The journey that global leaders need to complete to be truly successful in Inter-Cultural Environments is a difficult one that requires looking inward and learning a mixture of ICI and ECI competencies.

The first step in this journey is leaders becoming aware of what is happening in the world around them. Their own views and the views that they lack as well as how to get beyond that point. Awareness of that is crucial and they need to develop a language, mechanism and system to help them analyze their environment in a new way. KnowledgeWorkx has developed the 12 Dimensions and 3 Colors of Worldview to help them to do this.

The second part of the journey is to accept the different views that are now part of their reality. It is also important to be able to define it, the consequences of it. Once they have internalized that new awareness and have accepted it, leaders can ask, “What does this mean for us?”

Moving into the third stage, leaders can consider how best to adapt to work within this new reality. This is where the motivation to change is created and it’s important that leaders reach this stage themselves. Simply telling somebody that you need to add these perception management competencies from the GCI framework to your skill is not enough. Leaders need to want to adapt.

These challenging journeys require support and investment from HR departments and senior management which to date few companies have made.
One of the most difficult exercises in any company is to adapt the existing competency framework to enable a realignment of where a company spends its training budget.

KnowledgeWorkx is able to offer much needed insight with examples of where companies have taken this journey and how they have helped global leaders to excel.

People need a new way to look at the reality around them in order to be compelled and convinced to make changes. That is why the development of Inter-Cultural Intelligence, which includes equipping the organization with a new language, measurement tools and methodology is essential to making those changes happen.

Check out more articles on our KnowledgeWorkx Resource  page.

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