How do leaders of different nations communicate

Ethics and military

Inner leadership and globalization: intercultural competence of the Bundeswehr

In today's globalized environment in particular, it is important to be aware of one's own origin and society-specific management cultures. Operations no longer take place under the command of a single nation. Working together requires cooperation between nations and mutual understanding.

At Resolute support such a multinational environment. The mentoring team of the 209th Corps consists of approx. 60 NCOs and officers from twelve nations who have to bridge their cultural differences in order to be able to fulfill a joint mission. Among them are "only" five German soldiers. This heterogeneous group, across ranks and national borders, has one mission: to advise the Afghan National Army in northern Afghanistan.

The intercultural competence (IKK) presupposes, from the German point of view, the understanding and the life of the inner guidance. The core philosophy of Inner Leadership in relation to human dignity was designed in such a way that it can still be an essential part of the intercultural competence of the Bundeswehr today. Even back then, the preconditions for the IKK were unconsciously created. Mutual tolerance and the recognition or respect of the other's culture is the basis for communication with one another and the guarantee for success. You don't have to be on a foreign assignment to apply intercultural competence. In Germany too, respect and tolerance are required. Superiors in particular are encouraged to allow and encourage pluralism. Military leaders are “leaders, educators and trainers” who should demonstrate and promote a high level of competence in so-called soft skills such as tolerance, empathy and communication skills. This requirement is not limited to the commanding staff, but applies to all members of the army.

There are various courses at the Center for Inner Leadership and at the Bundeswehr Leadership Academy to support superiors in promoting the IKK. In everyday work, however, other training areas are treated as more urgent. The Inner Leadership or IKK usually follow at a lower level.

In preparation for deployment, the IKK is an essential part of training and preparation. Regional studies and general information are taught as part of the training; it is limited to the practical rules of conduct for the respective country and culture. But that is not to be equated with the ability to IKK. IKK is not knowing the dos and don'ts!

The Bundeswehr must adjust to more multinationality and the associated IKK. IKK is and will be the daily tool of every soldier, especially the superiors, in action.

Inner Leadership and Postmodernism: Diversity Leadership Skills

The value system of the Bundeswehr, like that of society, is subject to constant change and must therefore always be discussed in the current zeitgeist. Thus, the inner leadership is also in a constant change. Because of the missions in recent years, especially since the ISAF mission, the Inner Leadership is under discussion and has to put up with the question of whether it is still up-to-date and does justice to today's demands in an unchanged form. The internationalization of the missions, the multinationality of the staffs or the subordination of troops from other nations under German command in the country let the military world grow together and make an adjustment of the inner leadership necessary.

In spite of all the social and military discussions, Innere Leben is still the basis of action today, because values ​​such as human dignity, freedom, peace, justice, equality, solidarity and democracy are timeless. The balancing act between maintaining the central values ​​of Inner Leadership and adapting to the current needs of society must be achieved.

This change in needs must also be reflected in the relevant regulation. Dörfler-Dieken and Kramer (2013) show a discrepancy in the distribution and knowledge of Inner Leadership in the armed forces. The difference between the rank groups becomes clear and their significance for understanding service in everyday life and in action. This different understanding and interpretation of Inner Leadership can lead to misinterpretations in leadership behavior. In doing so, however, you run the risk of losing the profitable effects of a successful collaboration or not being able to generate them in the first place.

It is precisely the diversity of the armed forces, the wealth of different facets, which will give the Bundeswehr the decisive advantage in future missions. This diversity is particularly characterized by the lived inner guidance and IKK, which is not only directed towards one's own self. The goal must be the global view of the problems.

In future Bundeswehr missions, the ability to manage diversity will be more important. Especially when the Bundeswehr expands its mandates to train foreign armed forces or when it comes to training missions that are based on a postwar conflict establish. Effective peacebuilding is only possible in cooperation with the host country or partner nations. This requires a systemic way of thinking as a world citizen.

Global integral competence - a possible contribution to the evolution of Inner Leadership

The terror of Paris in November 2015 was seen by the conservative wing of society as a confirmation of the thesis of the impending "clash of civilizations" that the US political scientist Samuel Huntington had put forward in 1996. Many academics warned against his reductionist definition of culture, which is still dominant in the theory and practice of intercultural training (e.g. cultural standard and cultural dimension) and criticized the illusion of the singularity of identity. A person is to be seen as an individual with many affiliations or as a member of many different groups. In intercultural interaction one has to recognize one's own multiple identity and at the same time recognize and acknowledge the identity of others in order to avoid the ascription and cementation of a single cultural identity.

A post-modern concept of the IKK must be able to induce Bundeswehr executives to recognize their multiple social identities and, moreover, to discover their personal identity. The learning process of such an identity formation is a transformative learning process in which “learning as change” in the sense of Gregory Bateson (1972) takes place.

His step model of learning provides a theoretical basis for the new concept of intercultural training, which postulates that the reconstruction of identity through “consciousness transformation” is possible at a higher level of learning. The “transformation of consciousness” takes place consciously and unconsciously in an intercultural context, but it can still be promoted more efficiently through intercultural training before the soldiers are deployed abroad by suspending the cultural imprinting of behavior, skills, beliefs and identities. The task of science lies in the development of concrete training approaches to promote “diversity leadership skills”, to perceive the diversity of identities of one's own and others as an integral part of the overall system and, moreover, to establish a solid foundation for peacebuilding in post-war regions.

In the future training of the Inner Leadership in particular, it should be a matter of further training the skills of the armed forces and especially of the executives for successful peacebuilding. The focus of the concept of Inner Guidance is on people and their ability to influence conflicts and peace. The members of the army must have an impact on people from different levels of society in order to contribute to peacebuilding and ultimately to initiate a transformation and change in the system.

To concretize this thesis, the concept of Inner Leadership can be combined or expanded with “Integral Theory” by Wilber (2007). In particular, the quadrant model of his integral theory should be considered at this point, which can be used as an important supplement to the concept of inner guidance. The quadrant model makes it possible to understand interpersonal events holistically and comprehensively and thus to multiply options for action. For us it represents a basic model for considering both the paradigms and the specific learning fields and learning levels. For this purpose, the meaning of the individual quadrants is briefly explained.

According to Wilber (2007), events can be experienced individually and collectively, phenomena can be perceived internally (subjectively) and externally (objectively). From these dimensions, Wilber defines the quadrant model, which is shown in Fig. 1.