M4_2 Intercultural leadership

•    Cultural differences between leadership styles
•    Leading over distances

Short description of activity

One trick Pony or Build a tower (ppt slide 14, practical group activity)
Form two groups, each with equal amount of paper and sticky tape.
Their task is to build tallest self supporting paper tower that will support the weight of a marker pen.
One group is to be democratic – sharing ideas with no identified leader. The second group have to work in silence, do as they are told and obey a leader appointed by the facilitator
Appoint two participant observers one in each group to feedback on how it felt to be in their group.

See who wins which group makes the highest self supporting tower.
NORMALY the undemocratic group wins.
NORMALLY participants are disappointed that this is the case because we have a set of beliefs that sharing, working creatively is always best.

Questions to ask-
What other beliefs do we have about what works best … because we want to believe it?
How do we enjoy a stance that allows us to reflect upon other ways of working rather than be challenged or threatened by them?

Head wind/tail wind (ppt slide 17, interactive ppt-based discussion)
Each of us is ‘the boat’ safe in our harbour/ comfort zone
We have an aim (red dot)
We set off on our dream/ vision.
Winds make our journey difficult!
How do we steer around and utilise challenges to achieve our aim?
How do we use the challenges of ‘difference’ as positive opportunities for dialogue?
Slide 18 asks what are the challenges and obstacles in our project… SO how can we use these pressures to help us in our quest to develop ‘better’/ ‘plural’ views on life?

Keeping your eye on the prize (ppt slide 19, M4_1_3_ Basketball dudes, interactive video group competition,)
Leading across distance requires both a compelling vision and a concentration on the point of the exercise focussing on what’s important.
Before this video exercise starts convince the participants they have to really, REALLY concentrate on counting the exact number of completed passes the basketball players wearing white kit will make.
Really get participants focussed, offer prizes for correct answers, sanctions for getting it wrong, split the room in two, or by table to introduce competition.
Play the video.
Most people, so focussed on counting, will not see the Bear.

Questions to ask:
•    In our leadership – how do we focus on the important things, the point of the project and not just on the things we end up thinking are important
•    How do we keep our eyes on the prize?

Doing the right thing (ppt slide 21, physical activity)
Ask everyone to put their left hand up as high as they can.
Ask them to lift this hand Higher… higher… higher.. HIGHER
Wait until someone dares to stand up (in order to satisfy the task) then stands upon a chair… then a table(?)

Questions to ask:
•    In order to the right thing we have to brake convention/ the rules??
•    How do we do this in different contexts/ cultures when some cultures encourage greater levels of obedience and compliance??

Main learning outcomes

•    Understand that pressure can help propel us to success if we are focussed on where we want to get to.
•    Understand that leaders identify challenges and complete the sentence that starts with the word So….
•    Understand that leaders have to keep eyes focussed on the important not just the urgent.
•    Understand that leaders have to do what is right, not necessarily what is easiest, politest, traditional.
•    Understand that different leadership styles are effective in different situations, contexts, with different tasks and goals
•    Understand that compelling vision, focus on the outcome not just the output will allow for differences of style, approach, recording, involvement so long as we are broadly in line on values and outcomes
•    Understand that leaders make change happen by burning the present platform and reinforcing the vision.


Presentation (ppt): M4_1_1_Leadership
Video: M4_1_3_Basketball dudes


About 5 minutes for each activity


Slide 19 requires the sound to be turned off/ down!

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

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