27 Charts of Leadership Communication Styles Around the World

Earlier this week I shared a great infographic about differences in global leadership (24 Charts of Leadership Styles). It used the amazing work of Richard Lewis and his work on global leadership and culture. Today’s content is a follow-up infographic from Mr. Lewis. It focuses on differences in global communication styles.

As a Canadian who lives in America and occasionally teaches in Europe, I have had my share of communication mishaps. I have learned that the need to develop cultural agility is a critical skill for 21st century leaders. Take a look below and see if you have experienced any of these differences. Or more importantly, assess how others view you!

communication patterns charts_03

Interested in learning more about global leadership? You may enjoy some of my past posts about leadership norms around the word: Gender EqualityAssertivenessFuture Orientation, Power DistancePerformance Orientation, Human Orientation and Individualism

When Cultures Collide by Richard Lewis is available for purchase on Amazon.


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Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman Email: jeff@jeffsuderman.com

Global Leadership: Do You Have These 3 Cultural Agility Skills?

I like to spend time with people who have lived in other cultures. They are interesting. They have great stories. And they usually possess an exemplary set of interpersonal skills. The ability to be successful in other cultures – personally or professionally – is not an accidental ability. It is something that is developed.

As we encounter different cultures, we subconsciously use one of three methods to make intercultural relationships work. Understanding these three strategies can help us be more effective in becoming culturally agile.

Strategy 1 – Cultural Minimization. You standardize or control cultural differences in order to create consistency. Your goal is to limit cultural differences.

I teach in both North America and in Europe where grading norms differ. In order to provide a consistent standard, grading is defined by a rubric. A grading rubric outlines exactly how a grade is calculated. This minimizes differences in grading standards, something that is important when you have courses taught by people from different nationalities.

Strategy 2 – Cultural Adaptation. You adjust to cultural differences and respond in a way that is expected in that culture. You adapt to the norms of others.

My friend who lived in Indonesia was driving us through the busy streets of Jakarta. To a North American, the driving norms resembled chaos. However, as he spoke of traffic he stated, “In Jakarta, you need to drive like you are in a river. You just have to go with the flow and the currents of traffic and you’ll be fine”. Cultural adapters learn to accept and thrive within existing cultural norms.

Strategy 3 – Cultural Integration. You create a new set of norms and respond with collaboration to find solutions acceptable to all cultures affected (Caligiuri).

A friend of mine is a North American Expat living in the Middle East. In this prevailing Muslim culture, women are expected to wear abayas to cover themselves completely when in public. However, inside their expatriate camp women are theoretically free to dress as they please (they could wear their athletic workout gear at the commissary!) In practice, most women wear clothing that isn’t revealing and is deemed acceptable. Long dresses or loose clothing is worn to provide some cover yet not offend. Discretion and discernment result in an integration strategy that finds acceptable middle ground. 

An easy way to understand these skills is with the following continuum:

Cultural Competency Strategies

When you minimize, you seek to make differences insignificant. Conversely, when you adapt, you decide to let the prevailing culture dictate your behaviors. An integration approach combines the two and seeks to find a middle ground or a new norm.

However, knowing these three strategies is only the first step in being culturally effective. The key is knowing when to use each one at the appropriate time (Caligiuri). There are times when minimizing will be effective and times when it will be offensive. Similarly, integrating or adapting are not always the right solutions.

Therefore, effective leaders must first equip themselves with knowledge about these three unique skills. Secondly, they must develop know-how that helps them know when each is most effective (or inappropriate). Research shows that these three skills are not optional for global workers. They are of utmost importance if you seek to be effective.


 

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Dr. Jeff Suderman is a global apprentice, consultant and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Reference

Paula Caliguriuri (2012). Cultural Agility: Building a Pipeline of Successful Global Professionals.

Leading Globally: Individualistic vs. Collective Cultures

Me or We?

Cultural studies reveal that one of these two biases drives how you prioritize and make decisions. Those who come from a strong collective cultures practice, encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action. In contrast, individualistic cultures reward efforts which promote individual success.

The chart below illustrates some of the most common differences between individualistic or collective cultures. At the bottom of this blog you will find a reference chart which provides specific results for the 62 countries in the GLOBE study.

Collectivism

These biases can be observed in both in national, organizational and family structures. At times, we learn to exhibit different practices in our different environments. A cut-throat work environment may cause you to act individualistically in the office while your South American cultural heritage may foster strong collectivism in other relationships.

While some cultural insights help explain fascinating cultural differences, I find that differences in individualistic/collective worldviews can be the cause of significant conflict. An inner bias of ‘me’ or ‘we’ is a very strong personal driver and, as a result, can fuel intense conflict! As a result, it is critical for effective leaders to be able to assess the individualistic or collective preferences of those they work with.

This blog is part 5 of an 8 part series on global leadership. You may enjoy reviewing some previous posts: Gender EqualityAssertivenessFuture Orientation and, Performance Orientation.

NOTE: The content above has been adapted from the seminal work on global leadership commonly called The GLOBE Leadership Study. It assessed 62 different countries and identified important cultural and leadership norms. The results of this massive research project provide us with a goldmine of information which helps us understand cultural differences.


 

Head ShotJeff Suderman is a professor and consultant who works inCollectivism 2 the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their Future-Readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Reference

House, R., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M, Dorfman, P.W., Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G. (1980). Cultures consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

Leading Globally: Understanding Cultural Assertiveness

A lasting impression from my trip to Indonesia is the pleasant smiles and accommodating nature of the locals I interacted with. In contrast, within hours of my arrival in Lithuania, a store check-out clerk brashly told me “No, no, no!” as I unknowingly attempted to purchase something I was not supposed to.

Both of these examples represent the cultural value of assertiveness. Cultural assertiveness reflects beliefs as to whether people are or should be encouraged to be assertive, aggressive, and tough or non-assertive, non-aggressive, and tender in social relationships. When you experience a cultural assertiveness that is different than your own you often feel discomfort. It is also easy to judge the behavior as inappropriate (either too passive or to aggressive). However, these are just cultural norms that define how things are done. After spending time in Lithuania, I have grown comfortable with their direct nature as I have learned that assertiveness does not mean the same thing as being uncaring or rude.

The chart below illustrates some of the most common differences between cultures or individuals with high and low assertiveness. At the bottom of this blog you will find a reference chart which provides specific results for the 62 countries in the GLOBE study.

GLOBE Assertiveness 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This idea is supported by Howard Guttman in who specializes in workplace conflict. He believes that one of the sources of conflict is because of differences in our communication style. He labels these styles on as non-assertive, assertive or aggressive (see diagram below). When we encounter someone with a different style than our own, we often feel like a conflict is occurring rather than identifying it as a difference in our styles.

Guttman Communication Conflict

Whether in your workplace or in your travels, you have experienced differences in cultural assertiveness. As Canadians (a mid-assertiveness culture) who are living in the United States, our family has had to work to adjust to the high assertiveness of the US Culture. We cannot rely on others to ask us about ourselves and have to initiate more than we are used to. While it can be frustrating to adjust to different norms, it is a requirement of living in an increasingly global society.

As you understand differences in cultural assertiveness you can:

  1. Become self-aware: What is your cultural assertiveness norm? Where do you believe your communication style sits on Guttman’s scale?
  2. Validate your assumptions: Ask others the same question to see if your self-evaluation matches their experience.
  3. Assess your environment: How does the cultural assertiveness of your situation differ from your own. How do you need to adjust or act in this situation in order to be successful?
  4. Adjust: Learn to behave outside of your natural comfort zone.

I would love to hear examples of assertiveness differences you have experienced!

NOTE: The content above has been adapted from the seminal work on global leadership commonly called The GLOBE Leadership Study. It assessed 62 different countries and identified important cultural and leadership norms. The results of this massive research project provide us with a goldmine of information which helps us understand cultural differences.


 

Jeff SuHead Shotderman is a GLOBE Assertivenessprofessor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their FutureReadiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Reference

Guttman, H.M (2003).When  Goliath clash.New York: Amacon

House, R., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M, Dorfman, P.W., Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Leading Globally: Understanding Performance Orientation

“As you consult with us this month, you will find that our culture tends to work-to-live rather than live-to-work”. “This statement provided me with a very helpful orientation during a recent project in eastern Europe.

Culture affects how we think, how we act and how we lead. As a result, understanding cultural norms and differences provide us with the means to lead and work more effectively. This week’s blog is the first of an eight part series which will focus on developing global leadership skills. It is derived from the seminal work on global leadership commonly called The GLOBE Leadership Study. It assessed 62 different countries and identified important cultural and leadership norms. The results of this massive research project provide us with a goldmine of information which helps us understand cultural differences. I will begin this series by reviewing performance orientation and learning how we can identify and appropriately respond to it. At the bottom of this blog you will find a chart which provides specific high/mid/low performance orientation results for the 62 countries in this study.

PERFORMANCE ORIENTATION

“Performance orientation reflects the extent to which a community encourages and rewards innovation, high standards and performance improvement” (The GLOBE Study, 1004, p. 239)

The chart below provides a simple contrast of differences between high and low performance orientation cultures. As you review these lists, think of different cultures or individuals that you interacted with and determine when you have seen these dynamics at work.

Performance Orientation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to state that this information does not measure good nor bad performance orientation. Rather, it identifies differences, each of which bring a host of advantages and disadvantages. As we begin to identify and understand cultural differences, here are three ways we can apply this information.

1. We can view this as a means to understand an individuals behavior. Interpersonal conflict can stem from differences in performance orientation.

2. We often use this to evaluate a leaders performance. How we define success determines how we evaluate effective and ineffective leadership.

3. We can use it to interpret organizational cultures. Understanding the driving forces behind ‘The way things are done around here’, a common term which describes organizational culture, helps us live and work more effectively in that culture.

Here are some tips from the GLOBE study which will help you work effectively with cultures of high or low performance orientation.

Performance Orientation Tips

 

 

 

 

 

I invite you to provide your insights and experiences below as you consider your experiences dealing with individual, leadership or organizational differences in performance orientation.


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Performance Orientation Country JPG

Jeff Suderman is a professor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their FutureReadiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman

Reference

House, R., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M, Dorfman, P.W., Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.