These days, most people are familiar with the importance of company culture and of finding employees that fit well within one’s corporate culture. Many people, however, are still unaware of just how big of a role one’s actual cultural background plays in their leadership style.

For instance, a naturally extroverted business leader raised in Japan might exhibit very different behaviors than an extroverted business leader from the United States. In Japan, extroverted traits are generally frowned upon, whereas in the US, they are rewarded. Therefore, an individual raised in Japan might be more ashamed of their extroverted tendencies and try to play them down, rather than proudly embrace them. They may also frown on their subordinates displaying those same traits, even though they themselves are extroverted by nature. Here are three additional ways that cultural influences will affect leadership style.

Decision Making

The more authoritarian of a culture a person comes from, the faster they are when it comes to making decisions. As a result, these decisions may not always be received well by subordinates since they were very likely not consulted before a decision was reached. A person that comes from a country that uses a more communal style of leadership such as Sweden or the Netherlands will be more likely to consult the group before making a decision. However, they may also take a longer time to make a decision, especially if there is no consensus within the group.


Language has a major impact on how we view the world. In addition, language will determine how direct we are and how we approach problems. Since language has such a direct impact on worldview, even native English speakers and those born in the UK to first generation immigrants will be affected by the language of their parents.


Everyone has prejudices when it comes to gender and race, but the specifics of the prejudice will vary depending on where the individual is from. Individuals from some areas think of race as determined by skin color, but in many other parts of the world, skin color doesn’t matter, but the country of origin does. Some cultures also address those of one gender differently than they do the other, or believe that the different genders should have different roles in the workplace.

One’s cultural background influences their leadership style in many different ways. These range from different qualities being rewarded while others are not, to the way decisions are made through interactions with others.