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The 6 Different Leadership Styles Based on Culture [Infographic]

[fa icon="calendar"] 29-May-2018 10:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva

The 6 Different Leadership Styles Based on Culture

I'm fascinated by culture. I'm also fascinated by leadership so when I stumbled upon this HBR research on what leadership looks like in different cultures during an online course on International Project Management, I had to dig deeper into it and decided to summarise my learnings in the below infographic. 

Before we get there, though, let's make sure we're all on the same page with what leadership is and why cultural differences play a role

Leadership can be defined as the ability of an individual to influence, motivate and guide others.

Regardless of where they work, good leaders distinguish themselves by their judgment, their ability to relate to others and their integrity. Those skills and qualities are fairly universal across the globe and organisations.

However, culture influences the degree to which each quality is practiced and valued.

In the HBR article I mention at the top, authors Tomas Chamoro-Premuzic and Michael Sanger describe six major leadership types they defined through their research on the influence of culture and geography on leadership.

They looked at how culture influences decision making, communication style and what they call the "dark-side tendencies" on leadership.

As the authors say, "Depending on the cultural context, your typical style and behavioural tendencies may be an asset or a weakness."

While organisational culture is a significant influence on leadership, geographical culture determines desirable and undesirable traits in leaders. If you work in a global organisation among global teams it's important to understand what role culture plays in order to learn how to lead or be part of global teams more efficiently and know which type of leader is prized in each cultural setting so that you can adjust your communication accordingly

Let's review the six main types of leaders and which cultures are more likely to produce these types of leaders.

Please note that the last two types of leaders can emerge when what the authors call "dark-side tendencies" take over due to stress, organisational culture or other dysfunctions. Such leaders, while inevitably harmful, are found to be tolerated in some cultures. 

The 6 Different Leadership Styles Based on Culture [Infographic]

The 6 Different Leadership Styles Based on Culture [Infographic]


If you've recognised your leadership style in one of those 6 categorisations, bare in mind that you probably can't overhaul it because culture is driven by deep roots of upbringing, however, you can put efforts into adjusting your style when needed in order to be a more effective leader


So which leadership style are you? 


Topics: Leadership, Cultural Differences in Business

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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