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The Relevance of Cultural History in Leadership


Interactions between people from different backgrounds affect both personal and professional relationships. Factors such as variations in ethnicity and religion affect the degree to which organizations function. In addition, they impact leadership styles because individuals who have experienced inequality and discrimination are attuned to the challenges faced by a majority of employees. As a result, they are capable of modifying their strategies to fit specific contexts when addressing challenges. History and culture are powerful forces capable of shaping individual identities and perceptions, which are essential for the development of worldviews.

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Connecting with Other Cultures

Ethnic cultural histories define how specific racial groups interact with each other. The dehumanizing and oppressive conditions which characterize African American and Caucasian relationships significantly impact an individual’s worldview. The prevalence of racism delineates a person’s beliefs concerning the acceptance of white domination and black subservience. Psychological processes and experiences shape ideas on race and result in specific behavioral patterns. For instance, being black prompts individuals to get drawn to people of color because they share the trauma associated with institutional and cultural racism.

The former is prevalent in instruments of society that determine access to varied economic and social amenities, while the latter is a set of beliefs that inform the order of institutional structures. Black individuals tend to avoid contact or interactions with Caucasians because of the fear of victimization or persecution. The pervasiveness of specific stereotypes increases the black population’s awareness of potentially risky situations and informs personal decisions to stay away from white people.

Religion significantly impacts an individual’s outlook on life and determines how people relate to each other. The Baptist church supports the idea that political decisions must be informed by religious doctrine in view of the fact that they impact people’s lives. As a result, individuals who hold this belief often interact with people from various cultures and ethnicities. Christianity advocates for the elimination of barriers that would impede human progress.

Every person is a child of God and is deserving of respect. As such, any form of discrimination during interactions is highly discouraged. Therefore, people that are acutely aware of the lessons in religious doctrine work toward accepting all people of color and Caucasians. However, religious teachings may prompt individuals to avoid people who have extremist beliefs like radicalized Arabs.

Historical Cultures and Identity

The degree to which ethnic history affects an individual’s identity depends on the nature of their early experiences. The cultural iceberg model proposes that hidden beliefs and characteristics are responsible for the visible manifestations associated with specific conduct (McLaughlin & Alkhoraf, 2020). As a black woman, my first encounter with racism led to the re-evaluation of the role race plays in my life. Negative experiences like discrimination tend to reinforce feelings of anger and sadness.

The severity of the situation prompts the affected individual to seek answers by interacting with peers in an effort to share experiences. This is vital because it helps establish commonality, which is essential for the creation of an identity. As a result, black individuals are connected to people of color while they distance themselves from Caucasians who they believe are perpetrators of racially motivated crimes. Members of a cultural minority value togetherness because it promotes a sense of belonging between individuals who share important values, heritage, and traditions.

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Religion impacts identity because it provides a platform on which moral beliefs and behavioral traits can be crafted. In addition, it enhances an individual’s ability to interpret and understand the world around them. The ideologies taught in Christian institutions such as the Baptist church help deepen an individual’s comprehension of events as well as the meanings associated with specific occurrences. This is of particular importance in environments where shifting social and political conditions affect access to opportunities and resources. Black individuals are attracted to people of color because they have common religious beliefs while they avoid Arabs because of differences in religious principles. It is worth noting that Christian influences have helped define my character.

The Impact of Identity on Leadership Style

My identity has significantly impacted my leadership style in the workplace. The features that characterize this manner of direction include offering support to subordinates, eliminating obstacles that hinder task completion, and helping the employees to complete assigned projects. In addition, it involves the adoption of nurturing, dynamic and inclusive processes that facilitate teamwork. I am a transformational leader in view of the fact that I place emphasis on respecting, inspiring, and prioritizing the personal and professional development of my charges. It is vital to note that this form of leadership opposes dominance, especially in situations where the individual in question has experienced discrimination and identifies with a minority group.

I believe that work environments must institute programs that facilitate cultural competence. It is defined as a set of complementary mannerisms, attitudes, and principles that are brought together in an institution to facilitate efficient functioning in cross-cultural scenarios (Handtke et al., 2019). It ensures that organizations recognize the impact of cultural sensitivity on performance and job satisfaction.

Cross-Cultural Leadership

Differences in an organization’s hierarchal system are an important barrier to cross-cultural leadership. The unwillingness of individuals situated higher in the chain of command to accept different ways of conducting business negatively affects a leader’s ability to deliver results (Rao-Nicholson et al., 2020). Variations in work ethic and goal accomplishment techniques from individuals from different countries present a unique challenge. A language barrier and variations in communication styles may create new problems in a cross-cultural context. Achieving a balance between planning and implementation often creates friction between managers from dissimilar cultures.

Finally, disparities in decision-making procedures may impact leadership because while some cultures respect the pecking order, others prefer group decisions without regard for authority. Working with disparate cultures requires an acute awareness of specific character traits and behaviors associated with people from the background in question.

There are numerous opportunities for improved efficiency and productivity associated with cross-cultural leadership. For instance, it promotes leadership adjustment where individuals adapt their strategies to fit specific cultural contexts. In addition, it ensures that managers promote activities that encourage behavior change in response to the institution’s blend of ethnicities. Understanding essential cultural nuances can promote harmony and encourage the formation of deep and meaningful relationships between leaders and their subordinates.


Cultural histories affect people’s behavior, perceptions, and relationships in various spheres of life. Incidents of racial discrimination and religious affiliations shape identities and impact the development of different worldviews. The resultant identities impact various facets of an individual’s personality, including their leadership traits. Past experiences influence how they handle organizational challenges and the manner in which they relate to subordinates. Applying cultural leadership strategies facilitates behavior change and ensures that managers are attuned to the employees’ needs in so far as the achievement of set objectives is concerned. The connection between history and culture is important because it helps individuals navigate challenges both personally and professionally.

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Handtke, O., Schilgen, B., & Mösko, M. (2019). Culturally competent healthcare – A scoping review of strategies implemented in healthcare organizations and a model of culturally competent healthcare provision. PLoS ONE, 14(7), 1–24. Web.

McLaughlin, P., & Alkhoraf, A. (2020). A methodology to surface aspects of organizational culture to facilitate Lean Implementation within SMEs. International Journal of Operational Research, 10(150), 1–41. Web.

Rao-Nicholson, R., Carr, C., & Smith, S. (2020). Cross-cultural leadership adjustment: A strategic analysis of expatriate leadership at a British multinational enterprise. Thunderbird International Business Review, 62(6), 675–687. Web.

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