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Book Review: “Leading With Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success

In “Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success,” David Livermore makes a strong case for cultural intelligence in leadership. Livermore is a cultural intelligence and global leadership expert with extensive knowledge in this area. The 2015 second version of the book details how leaders may adapt to different environments while communicating across cultures. This essay critically evaluates and applies Livermore’s book’s ideas to Christian intercultural communication. This publication’s emphasis on intercultural proficiency, essential for completing the Great Commission within a globalized world, is relevant to our course. We aim to learn how to communicate across cultures in Christian service by examining and implementing Livermore’s teachings.

Critical Review

David Livermore makes a convincing argument that cultural intelligence (CQ), the ability to navigate and communicate across societies, is crucial for accomplishments in life, especially leadership. He believes leaders worldwide must be able to bridge cultures and comprehend different viewpoints. Livermore reinforces his position with studies, practical structures, as well as instances.[1] He proves that CQ is about incentive, expertise, tactics, and action to adjust and prosper in varied situations, not only cultural differences.

The book’s practicality is its strength. Livermore helps leaders improve their intercultural competency by turning abstract ideas into tangible strategies.[2] Case studies, as well as self-assessment tools, also enhance reader comprehension and applicability.

While Livermore’s practicality is admirable, it can lead to superficial consideration of complicated cultural issues. Exploring cultural nuances and intricacies would improve the book. More attention to the problems and ethical issues of using CQ in different global situations will broaden the perspective.

The book may benefit from more diverse viewpoints, especially from non-Western ones. Global management would be more holistic with such inclusion. Incorporating recent global politics as well as grassroots movements might render the work more pertinent to future and present leaders facing fast shifts in culture and challenges.

Overall Book Purpose and Structure

The book is organized and easy to use to improve cultural intelligence skills. After introducing cultural intelligence, it covers its four main elements: CQ Drive, CQ Knowledge, CQ Strategy, as well as CQ Action.[3] Each component is theoretically dense and feasible, with real-world instances, self-assessments, and strategies. Christian leaders participating in intercultural communication benefit from this methodical approach, which helps readers understand cultural intelligence theory and implement it in real life.

Christian Intercultural Communication Application

Cultural Intelligence is Essential for Global Leadership

Livermore, in “Leading with Cultural Intelligence,” stresses the critical role that cultural intelligence plays as a necessary component of effective international leadership in today’s linked world. According to the publication, leaders who are culturally intelligent—that is, who have the capacity to understand and negotiate many cultural contexts—are more suited to deal with the complexity of varied situations.[4] The Bible in Colossians 9:22 states, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means, I might save some.” As such, Christians abide by biblical teachings by being humble and gaining cultural knowledge. This increased awareness encompasses more than just cultural tolerance; it also entails a thorough comprehension of the expectations, ways of communicating, as well as beliefs that are characteristic of different cultures. Thus, world rulers who possess cultural intelligence are able to successfully foster cooperation, bridge barriers, and negotiate issues across cultures. Understanding and honoring multiple cultural customs is a top priority in my present ministry, where conversations involve people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. This enables me to modify my leadership approach and efficiently communicate with a multicultural audience.

Cultural Variations Affect Leadership Approaches

The book sheds light on how varied cultural values form followers’ desires for effective leadership, emphasizing the significant influence of cultural diversity on ways of leading. According to Livermore, leadership is a notion that is specific to each situation and is, therefore, closely related to the cultural environment in which it is practiced. The writer, for instance, provides a convincing illustration of how Saudi Arabian and German cultures view participatory leadership styles differently.[5] Saudis view authoritative leadership as a sign of power and clarity, but Germans favor participatory leadership that includes others in making choices. This contradiction highlights how important cultural values are in determining people’s preferences for particular leadership philosophies. The Bible in Romans 12:15 advises Christians to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are rejoicing. This verse promotes cultural sensitivity within the ministry and ensures that Christian leaders are able to understand and share the feelings and circumstances of others. This realization is very important for my ministry because it makes me consider the cultural contexts of the people I manage and adjust my style of leadership to suit their standards and beliefs better.

Establishing Trust Between Cultures Is Essential

While pointing out that there might be considerable cultural differences in the definition and approaches to fostering trust, Livermore emphasizes the universal significance of trust in leadership. According to the book, trust is a basic human need that cuts beyond cultural barriers, yet there are cultural differences in the methods by which it is built and preserved.[6] For example, in particular societies, the notion of confidence may be largely associated with professional ability and dependability, whereas in others, it may have its origins firmly planted in intimate connections and familiarity. For leaders hoping to create strong bonds in multicultural settings, this variance in cultural perspectives on trust has significant ramifications. The Bible in Romans 12:10 states, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Thus, leaders should strive to love and respect others to build trust. Since I work in a ministry where trust is essential, this lesson encourages me to handle trust-building with an in-depth awareness that takes into account the different cultural backgrounds of the people I meet. It motivates me to modify my trust-building techniques in light of the cultural norms that are present in particular situations, resulting in deeper relationships with people from various cultural backgrounds.

Team Performance Is Enhanced by Cultural Intelligence

The book emphasizes that cultural intelligence may significantly improve team interactions and output. Livermore argues that a culturally aware leader can transform multiculturalism into a source of competitive advantage.[7] He also highlights that heterogeneous teams produce more creative ideas than homogeneous ones when they are led by someone with excellent cultural intelligence. Creating a well-thought-out plan that optimizes diversity of viewpoints, reduces disputes, and fulfills goals is crucial. The Bible in Ephesians 4:3 states, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Keeping unity promotes collaboration when spreading the gospel to multicultural groups, increasing acceptance. I use this understanding in my leadership by ensuring that my ministry has an inclusive environment and my teammates come from different backgrounds. Doing so, I have seen that different viewpoints increase the number of ideas, which makes teamwork better, where the assumption of the book is that CQ is the engine in a multicultural world.

Ongoing Education and Adjustment

The book emphasizes how cultures are ever-changing and stresses how important it is for leaders to continuously learn and adjust. According to Livermore, effective leaders need to be aware of how cultural environments are changing and take the initiative to get the abilities they need to deal with these developments.[8] It highlights how social conventions, beliefs, and ideals are always changing, so what works in one cultural setting today could not work in another. Livermore exhorts leaders to adopt an attitude of perpetual learning and to keep up with changes in global trends as well as cultural developments. This aligns with biblical teachings in Proverbs 2:1-6 where Christians are encouraged to pursue knowledge perpetually. For me, there is a strong resonance between this lesson and how I approach ministry. The cultural characteristics of the societies and persons I serve are constantly shifting, and adopting a mindset of continual learning helps me better comprehend and handle the ever-evolving needs of those in my care. This lesson equips me to maintain cultural sensitivity and cultivate an approach to leadership that endures and has an impact within the ever-changing cultural landscapes.


Overall, Livermore’s book provides guidance to leaders, including Christian ones, on how to traverse cultural settings. It underscores cultural awareness whereby one should take time to learn about others’ cultures and adjust their teachings to fit into their values and beliefs. The book also shows that creating trust between cultures is important, cultural intelligence improves team performance, and cultural awareness depends on continuous learning.


Livermore, David. Leading with Cultural Intelligence 2nd Ed. New York, NY: AMACOM, 2015.

[1] David Livermore, Leading with Cultural Intelligence 2nd Ed (New York, NY: AMACOM, 2015) 47.

[2] Livermore, Leading, 25

[3] Livermore, Leading, 12

[4] Livermore, Leading, 56

[5] Livermore, Leading, 29

[6] Livermore, Leading, 46

[7] Livermore, Leading, 38

[8] Livermore, Leading, 40


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