Leadership; is a term that’s frequently used and essential for today’s society, not only for a single country or a workplace but also for the whole world. A true leader is a person who can evolve himself while lighting the fire in others to do better. Every leader’s journey isn’t the same, but all have one thing in common – facing unexpected turbulences and overcoming them with a growth mindset. So how can a person achieve the growth mindset? How can a person uplift his/her leadership? Are cross-cultural experiences necessary for a leader?

This could be explained in different directives, but in simpler terms, a leader who’s brought up with cross-cultural experiences is someone who understands to work and uplift others in a multicultural environment. Cross-cultural leadership skills can pave the way for self-improvement and will be beneficial when working in the modern globalized world.

A cross-cultural experience can affect a person’s leadership approach with more dominance and clear identification for his/her role. A leader is capable and has effectual interaction with his/her team and other aspects of management. Also, a person who is considered a global leader has a great sense of awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, and empathy for different cultures, including motives in establishing trusting relationships that will be valuable for them in the long run.

It’s noteworthy that the present leaders need to understand cultural differences in a team or workplace. A leader who understands cultural differences can unlock the best potential of his/her subordinates and will also be crucial for managing his/her own attitudes towards other cultures. The leader needs to be flexible and adaptable so that he/she can keep the team’s momentum going despite any challenges they face along the way. Also, this diversity can be helpful for knowledge enhancement at different levels in the organization.

Most organizations in the present have cultural diversity in their workplace. Creating an environment of different cultural, racial, and ethnics can add more depth and perspective to the organization’s missions, goals, values, etc. It might come practical in a broader perspective and can build more comprehensive expansion and outreach strategies.  An organization with individuals from such diverse cultural backgrounds and thinking patterns can affect organizational behavior in a positive way.  

Next, let’s consider how you can gain cross-cultural experience. There are many activities such as international exchanges. You can volunteer or participate in a program in a foreign country and get the exposure concurrently engaging in a worthy cause. 

With my personal experience as a Global Volunteer Exchange Participant in Italy, I learned about cultural diversity and how it affects the overall community’s existence, and what cultural traits make their nation unique. As a foreigner in Italy, I understood what parts of their culture they appreciate and what adroit traits I could gain from their culture to develop myself. I volunteered as a teacher for Italian students. Meanwhile, I started traveling and associating with natives, and I learned their culture and its strong points. 

Outgoing Global Talent by AIESEC can be another such way to gain cross-cultural experience where you get the opportunity to work in a well-reputed organization abroad. This will definitely help you to gain valuable industry experience in whichever field you prefer, and at the same time, you get the chance to meet and work with people from different cultures.

So, if you are looking to upgrade your skills and be a global leader, there are many ways that you can do so. The best path for you may not be the same for another. But if you select AIESEC for gaining that cross-cultural experience, we guarantee you an experience you will remember for a lifetime, and we will be there with you every step of the way.


By Nilaksha Gajaman
Showcasing Team – AIESEC in USJ

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