There is plenty of information about the importance of Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness in Leadership. However, there is another important leadership trait that does not come to the table as often. It is the leader’s cultural awareness.
The foundation of cultural awareness is the set of beliefs we have adopted unbeknownst to us from our “familia”. Understanding which of these values hold us back in our leadership journey is crucial to become effective authentic leaders.
What are some of these values?
Working hard instead of smart.
Not being comfortable challenging the status quo (or not rocking the boat too much).
When these values are ingrained in our brain, they could prevent us from being vocal, assertive, creative, or innovative.
Have you ever been in a meeting wanting to share a relevant point for the discussion and have second guessed yourself? And then, your peer, from a lower-context culture says precisely the point you wanted to make. I have been there. And it feels awful. And the worst part is being unkind to yourself for not speaking up, after all. The way you prepare for the meeting is crucial to build up your confidence. Read tour audience, meet with the decision makers before the meeting to seek their support if that’s the outcome of the meeting, write down genuine questions you have about the topic, know the facts and use them to explain your perspective.
How about working hard without bragging because our work will speak for ourselves? Being humble and letting others notice our accomplishments instead of communicating them assertively, is not strategic for our growth. We need to highlight our contributions with confidence and pride. This is not “bragging”, it is speaking the truth, your truth.