September 9, 2013
I have read a couple of articles lately – ‘The Rise Of Multicultural Managers’ by Yves Doz, ‘L’Oreal Masters Multiculturalism’ by Hae-Jung Hong and another article that discuss the many benefits that culturally intelligent leaders can bring to their organisations. Doz highlights that many multinational organizations have ‘hidden gems’. A hidden gem being a multicultural manager who is culturally intelligent, whose skills and knowledge have not been recognized and as such are under utilized. Multicultural leaders capture the diversity and complexity that exists within organizational structures and systems and integrate these in a creative and innovative manner.
Multicultural leaders work well and often thrive in environments of uncertainty, ambiguity and change. They have a level of openness and flexibility that allows them to observe new techniques, processes and structures and apply them to current and future products and processes within their own organisations. They know how to use their intuition, flex their behaviours and attitudes; and how to fuse disparate ideas and viewpoints, by molding them into their approaches and strategies.
The benefits that multicultural leaders bring to their organisations are many:
The multicultural manager consists of many ‘components’. I would argue, as does Doz, that just because a person speaks another language and has lived and traveled in other parts of the world does not automatically make him/her a successful multicultural manager. I know several individuals who have lived and worked overseas for many years who I would sadly not describe as culturally intelligent. They live within their own expatriate communities and navigate their work and private lives in a culturally sheltered manner. They lack the cultural curiosity and mindfulness or awareness that allows them to think and act in a culturally intelligent way.
The challenge organisations face is:
Please find below a couple of articles if you would like to read further on this topic:
Doz, Yves: ‘The Rise of Multicultural Managers’. Forbes. 8/01/2013 http://www.forbes.com/sites/insead/2013/08/01/the-rise-of-multicultural-managers/
Hae-Jung Hongand Doz, Yves: ‘L’Oreal Masters Multiculturalism’. Harvard Business Review June 2103. http://hbr.org/2013/06/loreal-masters-multiculturalism/ar/1