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Richard Lewis Communications - Leading across Cultures

Leading across Cultures


Different cultures have diverse concepts of leadership. Leaders can be born, elected, or trained and groomed. Others seize power or have leadership thrust upon them. Leadership can be autocratic or democratic, collective or individual, meritocratic or unearned, desired or imposed.

It is not surprising that business leaders (managers) often wield their power in conformity with the national set-up – for instance a confirmed democracy like Sweden produces low key democratic managers; Arab managers are good Muslims; Chinese managers usually have government or Party affiliations.

Leaders cannot readily be transferred from culture to culture. Japanese Prime Ministers would be largely ineffective in the United States; American politicians would fare badly in most Arab countries; Mullahs would not be tolerated in Norway. Similarly, business managers find the transition from one culture to another fraught with difficulties. Such transfers become more and more common with the globalisation of business, but the composition of international teams, particularly the choice of their leaders, requires careful thought. Autocratic French managers have to tread warily in consensus-minded Japan or Sweden. Courteous Asian leaders would have to adopt a more vigorous style in argumentative Holland or theatrical Spain if they wished to hold the stage. German managers sent to Australia are somewhat alarmed at the irreverence of their staff and their apparent lack of respect for authority.

In this workshop we analyse leadership styles in various cultures and discuss strategies for managing international teams, who have different expectations from leaders than may be normal for your culture.

Sample contents:

  • Introduction: Are leaders born, groomed, trained or accidental?
  • Leadership styles in 20 cultures
  • The Asian concept of leadership
  • Conflicts between European and American management styles
  • The “Manager’s Day” in different cultures
  • Individual and Team Leadership
  • The Language of Leading
  • 20 Cultures – 20 Motivations
  • Leading the International Team
  • The Multicultural manager

All our programmes are based on an in-depth discussion with you, and this description is just an indication. If you would like to talk to us about your needs and get a detailed draft synopsis, please click here.

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