Living in the 21st Century – Learning How to Get Along – Nu Leadership Series

An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

As American businesses expand globally, organizational leaders need to adjust their leadership paradigms. Most leaders are missing the problem. It can hurt their businesses as well as diversity. Tsui, and Gutek, demographic gurus, argue individuals within a particular category may have a different experience in a similar situation.

I interviewed a co-worker, an Asian-American, about his progression into management ranks. He was denied several management positions. Strangely enough, no one argued his technical skills. However, his didn’t fit. His management explained his following short-comings: inadequate interviewing skills, non-assertive, and inadequate communication skills.

Being frustrated after several interviews, he took legal action and won. He later explained that in his culture being aggressive and “showing people up” weren’t respected traits. However, this appeared to be highly valued in his current organization.

Authors Corning and Corning explain that America is on a slippery slope when dealing globally. Something needs to change. They explain, “The first major step toward a long-term solution to our problems is a new, more sophisticated way of understanding how the world works.”

Therefore, what’s valued in one culture may not be valued in another. Leaders need to understand that fact.


Corning, P. & Corning, S. (1986). Winning with Synergy: How American Can Regain The Competitive Edge. New York: Haper & Row Publishers.

Tsui, A. & Gutek, B. (1999). Demographic Differences in Organizations. New York: Lexington Books.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green