• The Change Maker Group

Cultural Intelligence - An Important Leadership Skill

Uzma Aitqad takes a look at how cultural intelligence is a critical skill for leaders.

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I am sure you all must have experienced globalisation through interactions with global participants that belong to at least one, or perhaps more, of these four key categories customers, competitors, suppliers, or employees, in your work experience and have had your share of learnings.

You'll agree on one thing while interacting with cultural diversity. On the one hand we learn new ways of thinking, but on the other hand we may find it challenging to understand some behaviours and their underlying drivers. That’s where cultural awareness helps. A culturally attuned leader would know these cultural differences and manage them with emotional intelligence.

I'll share with you Hofstede's 6-dimensional cultural framework here. Hofstede is an authority on national cultures, and Hofstede’s 6-dimensional framework highlights six areas of cultural influences that countries and geographies may have on its people which ultimately shape their behaviours reflecting in their conduct in a day to day life. I find it very useful while collaborating with different cultures, and I hope you'll find it useful too.

  1. Individualism vs collectivism, an extent to which people feel independent, as opposed to being interdependent as members of larger wholes.

  2. Power Distance, a degree to which the less powerful members of organisations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.

  3. Masculinity is the extent to which the use of force in endorsed socially.

  4. Uncertainty avoidance deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity.

  5. Long-term orientation deals with change.

  6. Indulgence versus restrained is about how much people in a culture are free to make choices in life based on what they want and not they should do as a duty.

If we’re aware of cultural backgrounds of the culturally diverse group we’re interacting with, we’ll be in a position of control where we can better manage human interactions and any differences, resulting in better results for the business.


Cultural intelligence in today's world is being linked to emotional intelligence, both critical skills for leadership and the success of any business.


To learn more on cross-cultural management please check out;

  • Understanding cross-cultural management by Marie–Joelle Browaeys & Roger Price

  • Hofstede's 6d-model-of-national-culture

...or contact me.


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Contact Uzma at uzma@thechangemakergroup.com

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