Culturally Competent Supervisor

  1. Description of a culturally competent supervisor. Illustrate the skills that this
    supervisor possesses by providing explicit examples of how the supervisor uses these
    skills with supervisees.
  2. Describe in detail the importance of being culturally competent as a supervisor.
  3. Describe which traits and characteristics contribute to successful culturally
    competent supervision.
  4. Describe the culturally competent skills and qualities that an excellent supervisor
    possesses.
  5. Explain which cultural elements could interfere with learning in supervisory
    relationships.
    Use the following references
    Berkel, L. A., Constantine, M. G., & Olson, E. A. (2007). Supervisor multicultural
    competence: Addressing religious and spiritual issues with counseling students in
    supervision. The Clinical Supervisor, 26(1/2), 3-15.
    Bhat, C. S., & Davis, T. E. (2007). Counseling supervisors’ assessment of race, racial
    identity, and working alliance in supervisory dyads. Journal of Multicultural
    Counseling and Development, 35(2), 80-91.
    Burkard, A. W., Johnson, A. J., Madson, M. B., Pruitt, N. T., Contreras-Tadych, D. A.,
    Kozlowski, J. M., . . . Knox, S. (2006). Supervisor cultural responsiveness and
    unresponsiveness in cross-cultural supervision. Journal of Counseling Psychology,
    53(3), 288-301.
    Burkard, A. W., Knox, S., Hess, S. A., & Schultz, J. (2009). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual
    supervisees’ experiences of LGB-affirmative and nonaffirmative supervision. Journal of
    Counseling Psychology, 56(1), 176-188.
    Dressel, J. L., Consoli, A. J., Kim, B. S. K., & Atkinson, D. R. (2007). Successful and
    unsuccessful multicultural supervisory behaviors: A Delphi poll. Journal of
    Multicultural Counseling and Development,35(1), 51-64.
    Falender, C. A., & Shafranske, E. P. (2004). Clinical supervision: A competency-based
    approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    o Ch. 6, “Building Diversity Competence in Supervision” (pp. 115-149)
    Ladany, N., Nelson, M. L,, & Friedlander, M. L. (2005b). Heightening multicultural
    awareness: It’s never about political correctness. In Critical events in psychotherapy
    supervision: An interpersonal approach(pp. 53-77). Washington, DC: American
    Psychological Association.
    Ober, A. M., Granello, D. H., & Henfield, M. S. (2009). A synergistic model to enhance
    multicultural competence in supervision. Counselor Education and Supervision, 48(3),
    204-221.
    Tummala-Narra, P. (2004). Dynamics of race and culture in the supervisory encounter.
    Psychoanalytic Psychology, 21(2), 300-311.
    Vargas, L. A., Porter, N., & Falender, C. A. (2008). Supervision, culture, and context. In
    C. A. Falender & E. P. Shafranske (Eds.), Casebook for clinical supervision: A
    competency-based approach (pp. 121-136). Washington, DC: American Psychological
    Association.
    Wong, L. C. J., Wong, P. T. P., & Ishiyama, F. I. (2013). What helps and what hinders
    in cross-cultural clinical supervision: A critical incident study. The Counseling
    Psychologist, 41(1), 66-85.

CULTURALLY COMPETENT SUPERVISOR 2

Culturally Competent Supervisor

Cultural competence takes diverse perspectives, needs and interests depending on
context. Cultural competence is characterized with congruent attitudes; behaviors and
policies engaged by individuals and organizations in allowing people live or work together in
multicultural situations. Culture defines the human behaviors related to communications,
thoughts, customs, actions, values, institutions and beliefs of ethnic, racial, religious and
social groups. Competence is connected to the ability of working or functioning efficiently.

Skills

Culturally competent supervisors have diverse skills that are used in engaging the
supervisees in the workplaces (Bhat & Davis, 2007). The supervisor is expected to display
personal qualities that are connected to warmth, empathy, genuineness and ability of
responding in a flexible pattern to various conditions (Burkard et al., 2006). If the supervisees
face challenges in the line of work, culturally competent supervisors must be in a position to
actively listen to the supervisees and respond in an equal measure without any discrimination.
Cultural competent supervisors are expected to have the skills of accepting cultural
differences in supervisees; this is influential in building trust among the supervisees.
Culturally competent supervisor is expected to recognize that cultural differences are in place
in diversifying workplaces. The supervisor is expected to be in a position of respecting
people of all races, nationality, ethnicities and gender among other variations observed in the
supervisees (Falender & Shafranske, 2004).
Culturally competent supervisors are expected to have the skills of explicitly
understanding the supervisees’ stereotypes, personal values and biases connected to own
culture or another culture. In this context, culturally competent supervisor must not generalize

CULTURALLY COMPETENT SUPERVISOR 3
on the supervisees; it is worth taking each team member on an individual setting and not
judging the supervisees basing on cultural affiliation.
Cultural competent supervisors are required to have the skills for adapting and
learning on the cultural and personal patterns of supervisees in organizations. People are
different in the workplaces, cultural competent supervisors develop intervention strategies in
collaboration with the supervisees, and this is more on developing and nurturing teams
(Burkard et al., 2006).
An example, an American supervisor leading Asian supervisees, may find it rough if
he/she is not culturally competent. Directives offered by the supervisors may go
unaccomplished since Asians in most cases defer to authority. Cultural competent supervisor
will have to understand the cultural differences and convince individual supervisee in
accepting the authority. In this context, the American supervisor will have embraced the
power of cultural sensitivity in leading Asian supervisees.
Another example, managing cross-cultural teams, is very challenging, workers from
Japan and China differ from workers in the Western world, the variations are in time
orientation, language, communication aspects, attitudes, collectiveness, ranking,
interpretation attached to blank expressions, decision making processes and in establishing
trust.

Importance of being culturally competent

Cultural competent supervisors have a competitive edge in global leadership skills
and cultural sensitivity among the supervisees (Ober et al., 2009). In real life, some
supervisors are effective at leading more than others; this is common with the host cultures
and other cultures. In the contemporary world, multiculturalism has become the order of the
day in the workplaces and the societies (Falender & Shafranske, 2004). Culturally competent
supervisors display cultural sensitivity, this is prominent in dealing with supervisees from

CULTURALLY COMPETENT SUPERVISOR 4
various cultures. A cross-cultural supervisor must be adaptable, patient, willing and flexible
to learn and list from other people.
Cultural competent supervisors must be aware of the cultural differences and be
willing in investigating the differences in people, and how the differences may be used in
building a better work relationships and a competitive edge in the organization (Bhat &
Davis, 2007). Cultural sensitivity will make the supervisor be a multicultural leader in diverse
contexts, where the supervisor will be willing to embrace the equality in cultures and adapt to
various cultures (Ladany et al., 2005).
Culturally competent supervisors will be in a position to develop global leadership
skills, which are prominent in improving the bottom-line of an organization through reputable
ways of operations and in offering sustainability. Excellent global supervisors have
leadership styles that are useful in generating profitability, productivity, efficiency,
continuity, morale, commitment, innovation and adaptability. Excellent global supervisors
should comprehend complex issues in achieving the right balance within the group (Falender
& Shafranske, 2004).
Cultural competent supervisors are stewards of natural and human resources by acting
responsibility; this is useful in promoting social, economic, ecological and biological
development by displaying social responsibility. Culturally competent supervisors tap on
human motivation in building trust, loyalty, integrity and teamwork among various cultures
(Ober et al., 2009).

Traits and characteristics

Traits express the personality, beliefs and values that define the culturally competent
supervisors. Culturally competent supervisors must display conscientiousness, openness,
agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism among others. The Big Five model are useful in
defining the personality of leaders, the model is connected to the eight traits of culture that is

CULTURALLY COMPETENT SUPERVISOR 5
defined by the language, social groups, daily life, religion, history, government, arts and
economic (Berkel et al., 2007). Characters and traits are influential in the leadership; highly
effective supervisors inspire actions, are optimistic, show integrity and are decisive. In
addition the supervisors support teams, show confidence and communicate effectively.

Qualities

There are diverse skills and qualities that excellent supervisors possess. Excellent
supervisors first generate ideas, and then join up people in bringing out the idea into reality.
Supervisors are faced with challenges of finding unique and new ideas (Tummala-Narra,
2004). Excellent supervisors display the qualities of honesty, ability to delegate, offer open
communication, sense of humor; build confidence, show commitment, display positive
attitude, foster creativity, intuition and ability to inspire.
Strong supervisors show the qualities of adaptability, assertiveness, conscientiousness
and intelligence. Strong supervisors in most cases engage transformational leadership by
displaying inspiration, positive attitude, developing supervisees and empowering the
supervisees (Falender & Shafranske, 2004). Transformational leaders are passionate,
enthusiastic, energetic and genuine. The supervisor must be in a position of helping the
supervisees attain their individual potential. Effective supervisors understand their leadership
styles, encourage creativity, act as role models and are passionate. Effective supervisors
communicate openly, listen to the supervisees, offer a positive attitude and encourage
supervisees to make contributions. Effective supervisors motivate supervisees and recognize
excellent performing supervisees, reward supervisees and create new ways of working (Wong
et al., 2013).

Elements

There are various cultural elements that could interfere with learning. Cross cultural
elements are related to valuing diversity, displaying the potential for cultural self assessment,

CULTURALLY COMPETENT SUPERVISOR 6
taking note on the dynamics involved when two or more cultures come into contact, having
advanced cultural knowledge and adapting to cultural diversity (Vargas et al., 2008).
Supervisory relationships are complex and it varies with cultures.
Supervisors are expected to encourage learning by setting of principles and values that
shape the attitudes, behaviors, structures and policies that allow the supervisees to work and
learn in a multicultural environment (Dressel et al., 2007). Learning is encouraged by having
the potential of conducting self assessments, valuing diversity, managing differences in
people, advancing on cultural knowledge and adapting to diverse cultural contexts.
The world is facing changes with globalization and socialization; people are moving
to every part of the world with ease, the practice has resulted in multicultural societies and
workplaces. Culturally competent supervisors have the ability of leading multicultural teams
in building a competitive edge. Cultural competent supervisors must have the necessary
skills, traits, characteristics, qualities and elements influential in managing cross cultural
teams.

CULTURALLY COMPETENT SUPERVISOR 7

References

Berkel, L. A., Constantine, M. G. & Olson, E. A. (2007). Supervisor multicultural
competence: Addressing religious and spiritual issues with counseling students in
supervision. The Clinical Supervisor , 3–15.
Bhat, C. S. & Davis, T, E. (2007). Counseling supervisors’ assessment of race, racial identity,
and working alliance in supervisory dyads. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and
Development , 80–91.
Burkard, A. W., Johnson, A. J., Madson, M. B., Pruitt, N. T. & Contreras-Tadych, D. A. et al.
(2006). Supervisor cultural responsiveness and unresponsiveness in cross-cultural
supervision. Journal of Counseling Psychology , 288–301.
Dressel, J. L., Consoli, A. J., Kim, B. S. K. & Atkinson, D. R. (2007). Successful and
unsuccessful multicultural supervisory behaviors: A Delphi poll. Journal of
Multicultural Counseling and Development , 51–64.
Falender, C. A. & Shafranske, E. P. (2004). Clinical supervision: A competency-based
approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Ladany, N., Nelson, M. L. & Friedlander, M. L. (2005). Heightening multicultural awareness:
It’s never about political correctness. In Critical events in psychotherapy supervision.
An interpersonal approach , 53–77.
Ober, A. M., Granello, D. H. & Henfield, M. S. (2009). A synergistic model to enhance
multicultural competence in supervision. Counselor Education and Supervision ,
204–221.
Tummala-Narra, P. (2004). Dynamics of race and culture in the supervisory encounter.
Psychoanalytic Psychology , 300–311.

CULTURALLY COMPETENT SUPERVISOR 8
Vargas, L. A., Porter, N. & Falender, C. A. (2008). Casebook for clinical supervision: A
competency-based approach. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological
Association.
Wong, L. C. J., Wong, P. T. P. & Ishiyama, F. I. (2013). What helps and what hinders in
cross-cultural clinical supervision: A critical incident study. The Counseling
Psychologist , 66–85.

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