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Leading Inclusively: How Cultural Competence aids Performance

The essence of leadership is the impact that a person has on the thinking and behaviors of others, and the culture that he or she ends up creating as a result. Within this context, "performance is built or destroyed based on how we deal with differences." This phrase comes from training I attended a long time ago, and is still so relevant today.

The central theme of the training was that a disposition of Listening, Learning and Resolving differences creates an ascending cycle of value and superior performance.

However, a disposition of Being Right, Defeating and Convincing leads to a descending cycle of waste and low performance. The key anchor point was having the self-awareness to be authentic with others and understanding the work climate one's behaviors create for others.

The training led me to develop the model below.

One of the components within the model is Performance Squared. High levels of performance and motivation are based on the intersection of:

1) Clear job standards and "positioning" a candidate to be successful in that job;

2) Candidate's characteristics, skills and competences;

3) Canager's characteristics, skills and competences and

4) Overall work climate or culture of the organization.

While we typical focus on requirements job standards (#1), and individual competencies (#2), the growing generational, ethnic, racial and cultural differences within the labor pool, requires organizations to spend sufficient time on improving the cultural competence of managers (#3) and understanding how the organizational culture, particularly the values, beliefs and behaviors of leaders, are inhibiting innovation and self-actualization among employees (#4).

As part of Performance Squared component #3, a manager should ask themselves three questions:

1) What about me prevents you from reaching your full potential

2) How do my strengths inhibit you from exhibiting your strengths, and

3) What don't I know about you that could aid our collective success.

To learn more about Leading Inclusively, Performance Squared, and other models, take the Leading Inclusively assessment here and register for workshop.

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