Friday, September 11, 2009


Emotional intelligence and cultural literacy are necessary skills that allow a leader to interact with and lead others effectively, and the key to interacting with others and managing relationships successfully is communication.” the basis of any relationship is communication”. Without communication—be it body language, sign language, e-mail, or face-to-face conversation—there is no connection and hence no relationship. The importance of effective communication to your emotional intelligence is crucial, and its value in the workplace is incalculable”.1The need for keen emotional intelligence and cultural literacy become magnified when you interact with others in an organization, whether one-on-one, in groups, in meetings, or in teams; and it is this interaction that is the focus of the managerial ring of the leaders hip communication spiral. In the same vein, leaders need strong interpersonal skills and an understanding of and appreciation for cultural diversity. Without these skills, leaders cannot communicate with and manage others effectively. Interpersonal skills have gained recent recognition among business leaders under the name of “emotional intelligence”.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capacity to understand your own emotions and those of others. This understanding provides a foundation to understanding and appreciating cultural differences, called cultural literacy. Cultural literacy is referring to being literate and knowledgeable about the fundamental differences across culture. The definition of emotional intelligence suggest that it is begins with the ability to identify and manage emotion in oneself and in others, but it’s extend also to the ability to translate these emotions into actions that show flexibility, personal and social problem—solving ability. It implies that the action should have a positive impact on others.Hence, the first step toward emotional intelligence is self awarenss.According to Hendrie Wesinger, and he calls self awareness” the foundation on which all other emotional intelligence are built”2.And says self awareness is an ongoing process.
What is important to realize is that you can develop your emotional intelligence and by doing so improve your leadership communication ability, but you need to understand your strength and weakness first. To achieve this, psychological testing can be of great help to gain insight into ones behaviour and how you interact with others and also how others interact with you. The benefit from knowing oneself better and identify characteristics that may hinder one ability to interact effectively with others cannot be over emphazise.with this knowledge you can work towards modifying unproductive behaviour and perharps, at aminimum, understand better why others respond to you as they do.
The term”culture”has many meanings, some rather narrow, and others much broader. For instance, some think of culture as associated with levels of society or with nationality, or geography. For anthropologists, culture is much broader: it is “the way of life of people, or the sum of their learned behaviour patterns, attitudes, and material things.”3It is the way people make sense of and give meaning to their world. It is the frame of reference and the behaviour patterns of groups of people. It includes social characteristics as well as physical characteristics, gender, age, profession, organizational function, and company structure and style. Culture is not personality. Culture is learned and shared equally by others of the same culture whereas personality is highly individual and influenced by our genes and our environment.
Realising the value of culture differences is a key component of emotional intelligence. Only by understanding and appreciating cultural diversity can you know how best to communicate with all of the different audiences that form the complexion of most of the world’s corporations today. More and more businesses are international, multinational, or global. Technology has enabled cross-global communication and made working across time zones, geographies, and nationalities a given for most managerial jobs. In addition, companies seek diversity in order to compete, and leaders need to be better educated about culture to take the full advantage of the value diversity cultural literacy:”productive cross-cultural relationships require each individual to embark on a personal journey that initially can be even more frustrating than it is rewarding. Academic learning is useful, of course, but it is the direct knowledge accumulated in the day-to-day act of conducting business across cultures that is ultimately most meaningful. This is the kind of learning that allow people to understand not simply the surface signs of cultural differences...”4Few would argue that to understand culture fully, you must live it—breathing the air, speaking the language,exsisting as one with the people.
A number of frameworks exist to help individuals define and organize the most important cultural differences. It is difficult to cover all of the most universal categories in which to place all the possible cultural differences, but cultural framework can be highly useful to bring insight into cultural differences and to help us approach culture systematically and nonjudgmental. However, this framework shows the interdependence of variables, each crossing and interrelating with the other. These cultural variables are five in number; and they include:
Information flow.
And, power.
The above variables are important to and applicable across culture. They are the variables anthropologist most often use when making distinctions about culture.5Understanding each of them will provide you with a platform on which to begin your audience analysis and determine your strategy for communicating and interact effectively with people of other culture.
Lastly, a leader emotional intelligence and cultural literacy will affect the climate of the organization.tis is because “emotions are contagious”.6The leader’s emotional intelligence determines his or her successes as well as the company’s culture and perfofmance,and understanding cultural difference begins with emotional intelligence.

1. Weisinger, H. (1998).
2. ibid.
3. Morand, D.A. (fall 2001).
4. O’Hara-Devereaux and Johansen, R. (1989).
5. O’Hara-Devereaux and Johansen, R. (1994)
6. Gary, L. (2002): quoting Goleman.

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