Cultural Competency: Preparing the Leaders of Tomorrow through the Lens of Leadership Theory
Cultural competence is an essential requirement of administrators, curriculum developers, faculty, and students who drive the mission, values, vision, and goals at academic institutions. Their scope of influence and efficacy is thus enabled through leadership appropriateness and skill. Universities preparing students for the next phase of their lives not only must equip their students academically, but also holistically in order for them to flourish-and this includes the area of cultural competence. This presentation offers insight into four leadership styles, Charismatic Leadership, Servant Leaderships, Transformational Leadership, and Situational Leadership and the application of each for effective cultural competency in academic settings.
Examining cultural issues such as diversity, cultural identity, bias, and inclusion in a scholarly setting allows the opportunity to develop leaders that are culturally proficient (Ruffin & Simon, 2022). The social and behavioral sciences (psychology, anthropology, political science, economics, and sociology), maintain that individuals from diverse cultures see and do things differently (Uhl-Bien et al, 2021), and that cultural competence is defined as the ability for individuals from different cultures to interact effectively with others from different cultures (Phillips, & Gully, 2021).
For administrators, curriculum developers, faculty, and even students, there are opportunities to see, experience, and demonstrate cultural competence through effective leadership. Leadership is the disciple-like effect the followers espouse of charismatic leaders (House, 1976). For the servant leader, there is a stark difference in the motivation of the leader. A traditional leader will be motivated for their own self-interests or for the interests of others, while a servant leader will always be others focused first (1970). “Transformational leadership can assist higher education institutions to attain their purpose, focusing on integrated learning, collective goals, community-oriented objectives, and collective wellbeing” (Sharma & Jain, 2022, p. 243). It has also been suggested that administrative staff and teaching faculty ought to deploy a Situational Leadership methodology to address and accommodate the different styles of learning with the goal of improving student outcomes (Raza et al., 2018). Thus, it can be said that Transformational, Servant, and Charismatic Leadership are best deployed through the goodness-of-fit approach to education for this theory. Through the lens of four fundamental leadership styles, cultural competency can be improved upon and grown, especially in online graduate learning environments.
In this session, we will address the challenges of preparing culturally competent graduates in in higher education through the lens of four effective leadership styles: Charismatic Leadership, Servant Leadership, Transformational Leadership, and Situational Leadership. Recommendations will be made, and resources will be provided to promote cultural competence among administrators, curriculum developers, faculty, and students.