Friday, March 7, 2014

Global Thought Leadership

Digital creates the new demand and dimension for leadership.

 3/8 is the International Women's Day, to amplify the symbolic meaning of such day, perhaps it is also the time to walk through the collective progress the human can ever make and to contemplate the global leadership as the whole, both for male and female; senior and young. The world is moving from industrial age to digital era, it is the age of discovery and mastery. Now, the desert, the mountain, and the sea will no long separate us, still, there’re barriers in people’s heart and there’re silos in human’s mind. There are many international businesses around, but there are very few truly global companies; there is a lot of international managers, but there are even fewer truly global leaders. What are the future trends of digital leadership and what’re important traits in global leadership.

AuthenticityThe ability to think differently, independently and innovatively.

Being authentic means to be original, positive, progressive, courageous, conscious, creative and curious, and to adopt mindsets of not knowing, challenging convention, maximizing diversity and being willing to experiment, as a basis for then being able to think differently and independently.

At the age of digitalization, ‘being who you really are as a global leader’ is more critical than ever, as your digital footprint is omnipresent, the working life is converging with personal life. You have to be real and true to yourself and others. This will translate and distill into believability throughout your entire organization and beyond. You will be seen as a person and leader who can be trusted not just by your employees but also by your customers or clients.

An authentic global leader can see the world with 'fresh eyes', to create thresholds for possibilities that can result and expand into innovative thinking. They are more purpose-driven and compete with uniqueness. The high mature global leadership is more about inspiration, not just aspiration; unification, not division; collaboration, not just competition; influence, not just power; substance over style; to abstract principles, not just setting rigid rules. An authentic leader is someone who leads the way, shows the path of what is possible or make impossible possible, and what can be done if people work together. 

Empathy –The Ability to Connect the Minds via Multi-disciplinary Touch Point  

Empathy is one of the critical ingredients for contemporary global leadership. The empathy is the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings; or the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. We all have bias due to the culture or environment in which we grew up, the media or books we select to follow; or the information we digested, as late Steven Covey well put, the world we see depends on which lenses we use and what we see or perceive.

Therefore, compared to regional or local leadership, global leadership does not mean scaling up or expanding out only; being a multi-linguistic leader or culture master would help build empathy, but it’s still not sufficient; it is about such set of capabilities to see the world via multi-dimensional lens; to understand and solve problems through multi-disciplinary approaches; and to manage multi-folded complexity through multi-faceted practices. The empathic global leaders are good at shifting from one leadership style to another, but keep the leadership substance on check; they are good at identifying and articulating paradigm shifts, setting trend, not fad; and they are good at molding leaders that go out and promote changes in people's mindsets and paradigms and make influence through vision and insight.

Balance –The ability to Bridge the Difference and Create Harmony

The world is neither white nor black, it has a full spectrum of colors and themes. Balance means to raise your consciousness, bridge the difference, recognize the cognizance between left and right brain, between head and heart, and cooperate with others to adapt and manage.

The solution to Balance is in the Tao, in nature, and its overarching intent, which is to continue to adapt, to evolve, sometimes incrementally, sometimes transcendently. Mimic nature, adopt change as a constant. Leaders need to cultivate the culture of balance, with the collective mindset about how they do things here and balance the diversified viewpoints, creativity, and discipline; opportunity and risk. The balanced leadership promotes collaboration and partnership to focus on 1) Positive feelings of being together 2) Combining complementary knowledge, skills, values, efforts 3) Mutual inspiration, motivation, enrichment 

The balanced leader is transformational to create a vision of a new reality and inspire others to move towards the creation of this "reality". Therefore, they are able to transform the environment and the individuals via both pushing and pulling. They are open from what's not optimal, and seeing all the limitations and blocks to a more inclusive and balanced view of people, life and the planet as a whole. And such transformational leadership transcends the issues of business strategies and professional development and creates paradigm shifts.

 Leadership is Influence. The global leader’s influence is not only about his/her expandable horizon, but more about his/her very intention or effort to capture insight; or the vision and wisdom to look forward. Whether you are a business leader or political leader, male leader or female leader, senior leader or younger leader, digital creates the new demand and dimension for global leadership. And the leader’s influence is based on the courage to inspire, confidence to assert, wisdom to negotiate, and uniqueness to bridge.


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