Are you an expat or a global professional?

I am teaching a university course on leadership across cultures to an audience of twenty different nationalities and used thisarticle by Professor Peiperl from IMD. The conversation was fascinating. Where do you rank?

You are an expat if…

You manage your classroom environment by the content you teach rather than the people in front of you.

You manage your teams by the way in which you learned how to manage teams in your country of origin.

Your pantry is filled with food from your country of origin. (Especially if your luggage is filled with it when you go home for summer break).

You live in a compound that resembles your host country and you rarely leave it.

You go to the bars and restaurants that speak your language, serve the food from your country of origin and attract a clientele from either your country of origin or ones close to it.

You cannot communicate effectively with the support staff because you don’t speak the host country language.

You complain about “the way things work here” rather than adapt to the way things work here.

Your always consider yourself a “temporary” worker

You don’t have any friends from the host country.

Rather than adapt to the unique cultures of your working environment, you seek comfort zones by sticking to the habits and cultures that you identify with.

You are a global professional if…

You teach according to a level of cultural intelligence that allows you to connect with the learning aptitudes of different cultures.

You manage teams with an awareness of “high context” and “low context” cultures.

You stretch yourself by being inquisitive and learning from your surroundings, making these experiences part of your “leadership toolkit.”

You can speak more than one language, preferably the one of your host country.

You go to bars or restaurants outside of your comfort zone and where you are in the minority.

You stretch your global competency by having a keen sensitivity to the “way things are done here” rather than complaining about “the way things are done here.”

You choose (if you have a choice) to live in the community, exposing you to languages and cultures you may not be accustomed to.

You know how to communicate across cultures, not only in language, but with cultural intelligence. (Not everyone likes the loud American approach, believe me).

Okay, so this is technically from the 1970s, but it’s the first song that came to my mind when I thought of the topic. Yes, it’s hard to watch aging rock stars performing classics like this.

About Stephen Dexter, Jr.

Stephen is an international educator and administrator. A native of the United States, he lives with his wife Stephanie and children Zoe and Ian in the Singapore. With a career that spans over twenty years in public, private and international schools, he writes when he can and is on a quest to discover if "text walking" is changing the human brain.
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