The ability to understand and appreciate different cultures
What is it?
Leaders who are culturally sensitive seek to understand and celebrate cultures of many forms. They strive to learn from cultures both similar to and different from what is familiar. Culturally sensitive leaders understand that different cultures each bring unique histories and experiences, which can in turn bring fresh and unique perspectives. Truly culturally-sensitive leaders see different cultures as unique and beautiful in their own right – apart from competitive advantage – and can model this way of thinking for others.
Why is it important?
Cultural sensitivity is more important than ever in an increasingly globalized world. Diversity in all of its forms has become widely celebrated and sought after in organizations today. Diversity of thought, culture, and experience leads to greater creativity and capability amongst employees. However, embracing diversity is also essential when considering the body of people an organization works for. A cultural understanding is imperative when providing excellent care to multiple different groups. And in universally applicable services, such as healthcare, patients will inevitably have differing demographics and certain minority groups. Consequently, today’s leaders need to be prepared to not only celebrate culture, but also to use these unique worldviews to change organizations and communities for the better.