Intercultural Competencies for Global Leaders

Globalization has created a culturally diverse and interconnected world.  Individuals and organizations are faced with challenging demands and increased complexity.  To make sense of and lead effectively in today’s’ world, individuals need to master core competencies, especially as they face collective challenges in multicultural teams and organizations.

A competency is more than knowledge and skills. It involves the character and ability to meet complex demands of a cultural reality[i] by drawing on and mobilizing a diversity of resources (including attitudes, emotional, relational, as well as knowledge and acquired skills).[ii]  Today’s leaders need a wide range of core competencies to effectively face into the diverse and complex challenges of a global world.

I have begun a list of core competencies for leading effectively.  They are divided into three components: a) personal competencies, b) relational competencies and c) missional competencies.  What competencies you would add to or take away from the list. So far I have included:

Personal Competencies:  help the person grow in character, in integrity and the image of God.

  • Strong identity and self image
  • Acceptance of oneself
  • Self-awareness
  • Ability to learn

Relational Competencies: advance awareness, sensitivity and communication skills that promote healthy relationships and unity between diverse cultures.

  • Openness
  • Acceptance
  • Trust
  • Forgiveness
  • Ability to listen
  • Understanding

Missional Competencies: contribute to valued outcomes for individuals, ministries, teams and organizations in their particular cultural context.

  • Ability to serve

What competencies would you add, delete or change?  Make a comment.

[i] Cloud, Henry (2006).  Integrity: The character to meet the demands of reality.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

[ii] Rychen, D.S and Salganik L.H. (2005). The definition and selection of key competencies: executive summary. Switzerland: Key DeSeCo Publications

About Steve Morgan

I work in Global Leadership Development with my wife, Terry. We have been married for 36 years and have 4 grown children. I have a Masters in Global Leadership together through Azusa Pacific University. I generally write about 5 “L’s: Living Well, Loving Deeply, Learning Continuously, Leading Courageously, and Leaving a Legacy. I occasionally write about Laughing Loudly. Subscribe on the right side to receive an email whenever there is a new post. I invite you to leave your comments so we can dialogue on the various topics and learn from each other. If you are new to the site, you might start with looking at some of the top posts or doing a search on the right sidebar for one of the 5 “L’s” that interest you. Or you can view the blog archives for topics. Photo Credit:
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3 Responses to Intercultural Competencies for Global Leaders

  1. terry morgan says:

    Nice job! I would possibly add under missional competencies: language learning and effective teamwork skills for greater effectiveness – now to apply these things! That is the real challenge!

  2. Steve Morgan says:

    Do you think the language could fit in the ability to learn-personal competence? And yes, the team dimension is important for sure. The whole missional section needs some development. I am wondering how the roles and responsibilities of a leader fit. The ability to serve surely informs all of those roles and responsibilities. Which ones are important competencies for cross cultural mission is the question…or all of them???

  3. Pingback: The Global Leadership Summit 2015 | Leader Impact

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