Cultural Intelligence vs. Centered Leadership Debate
As Middleton (2015) indicates, cultural intelligence is the ability to cross borders between cultures and actually thrive in doing so. In other words, cultural intelligence is a skill that enables a person to relate and work efficiently in culturally diverse situations. In her video, Barsh (2010) describes what the centered leadership model is all about. According to her, the model comprises of 5 broad and interrelated dimensions, i.e., meaning, energizing, framing, accountability, and ownership that describe the leader. I thus believe that the ideas of cultural intelligence and centered leadership to be contradictory to each other for effective leadership.
While cultural intelligence focuses on the needs of others, centered leadership focuses on the needs of the leader. Leaders with cultural intelligence are aware of the beliefs, attitudes, values, and body language of people who are culturally different from them. They utilize this knowledge to assist them relate to others with understanding and empathy. This way, they are able to positively influence their followers. In contrast, centered leadership focuses on the qualities of the leader and leverages them in order to lead people effectively. For instance, when it comes to the aspect of framing, the leader seeks to adopt a more constructive way of viewing his/her world so as to better lead the followers by moving ahead even when bad things happen.
Another conflict between the two leadership styles relates to factors that drive them. A culturally competent leader is driven by the need to understand others, i.e., understanding both people who are similar to them and those from different cultures and then act on that knowledge in a way that is mutually beneficial. On the other hand, centered leaders are driven by meaning. According to Barsh (2010), meaning comprises of where the leader gets happiness from and their sense of purpose. These are the sources of energy for the leaders that enable them to chart a way for others can follow
Barsh, J. (2010, June 10). Centered Leadership — The way of the future? [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLCEyLQZFV4
Middleton, J. (2015, February 21). Cultural intelligence: the competitive edge for leaders [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izeiRjUMau4