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Short Talk

Cross-Cultural Leadership Challenges and Opportunities in Mission Partnership


It does not take long for leaders in new cultural settings to realise they do not understand the rules of the new setting. Leaders from Western societies complain that followers do not do what they say they will do, show up late or not at all without any excuse, expect the leader to make all the decisions, and so on. Leaders from Majority World societies complain that their followers do not care about obligations, do not respect them as leaders, put policies above relationships, and more. In a globalised world, we anticipate continued proliferation of multicultural and multinational teams with ever greater diversity of leaders. While there are challenges, there are also opportunities. Cross-cultural partnerships can be far more fruitful than homogeneous partnerships—but it requires developing a “third way” of navigating relationships, policies, procedures, and values.