Cultural Differences in Leader Expectations

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Cultural differences in expectations of leaders can be manifest in clothing styles. An HSBC bank “Different Points of View” ad campaign captured this by showing diverse interpretations of wearing suits versus casual clothes. In a culture that values adherence to hierarchy, which includes most Asian cultures, the leader is expected to dress more formally. In cultures valuing more egalitarian leadership, the boss can express equality by dressing casually.

Another leadership-related cultural difference identified in the HSBC ad campaign. Cultures have different perspectives on age and wisdom.

Egalitarian leader cultures tend to value a boss who facilitates decision-making among equals, while hierarchical cultures honor a strong decision maker who has a more elevated role. Worker-boss communication can be direct in egalitarian cultures, but more formal in hierarchical. 

Each style has strong & weak aspects. It’s important in multicultural teams to be aware of the differences & know (or set) the expectations.

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