Global leadership involves effectively leading people from various cultures and backgrounds, and having an understanding of their particular needs and values. For a global educational leader -- and I believe this title fits any teacher in a diverse educational setting -- there are two significant challenges because of the need for a global educational leader should be effective at intercultural communication with various cultural identities in a diverse learning environment. First, global education leaders need to have cultural-general knowledge (pertaining to all foreign cultures), which can be problematic and pose challenges, because it does not distinguish between unique cultures. Second, because it would be infinitely better to have much culture-specific knowledge, there can be a high demand on educators to be aware of the specific needs and nuances of each specific culture they work with, which is aspirational but may sometimes feel unrealistic at worst, and challenging at best.
Possible Ways to Address Challenges
However, some of the challenges faced by global education leaders can be addressed by further education. First, the diversity present in our teaching and learning environments provide extensive opportunities to help address these challenges. These challenges can be addressed through on-going training and education of educators, who should continue to grow as practitioners and stay up to date on relevant findings in multi-cultural education. That said, education based on existing research could present its own problems, given that most of the existing studies on global leadership are based on data derived from research in either Western or North American cultures, and have drawn on Western or North American cultural values (Paulienė, 2012). However, training based on findings from project GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) could prove valuable, given that they gather data from 61 different nations, and examine culture along nine different dimensions of leadership (House, Javidan, Hanges, & Dorfman, 2002). Considering different cultures' values for uncertainty avoidance, power distance, institutional collectivism, in-group collectivism, gender egalitarianism, assertiveness, future orientation, performance orientation, and humane orientation can give great insights into what leadership can and should look like to peoples of differing backgrounds (Čater, Land, & Szabo, 2013). This allows for a more thorough and diverse examination of cultures and attributes of effective leadership from various international perspectives, and provides an international view of leadership attributes (House, et al., 2002).
House, R., Javidan, M., Hanges, P., & Dorfman, P. (2002). Understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe: An introduction to project GLOBE. Journal of World Business, 37, 3-10. doi:10.1016/S1090-9516(01)00069-4
Čater, T., Lang, R., & Szabo, E. (2013). Values and leadership expectations of future managers: Theoretical basis and methodological approach of the GLOBE student project. Journal for East European Management Studies, 18, 442-462. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=92574346&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Paulienė, R. (2012). Transforming leadership styles and knowledge sharing in a multicultural context. Business, Management & Education / Verslas, Vadyba Ir Studijos, 10, 91-109. doi:10.3846/bme.2012.08