Sunday, June 22, 2014

Are you Experiencing Global Leadership Drought

You must always give a person his or her pride and dignity. This is the basis of leadership. 

There are many multi-national companies, but very few global businesses; there are quite many multinational managers, but even fewer truly global leaders. Some say, even worse than brain drain, there’s leadership drought? What makes a global leader, versus a domestic leader? How are the skill sets different?

Openness: An open-minded mentality and appreciation of cultural differences support forging global/cultural relationships and creating business opportunities. Global leaders must be open, adaptive, and comfortable with diversity in many forms. Some of the important "global leadership" competencies uncovered include a high degree of cultural sensitivity, empathy and intelligence, cognitive difference, talent empowerment, and team building. Working with people around the world brings an even broader variety of views to analysis, decision making, and implementation. At the same time, global leaders must realize the implications of their decisions... How implementation will impact customers and teams in various locations.

Learning agility: Ultimately global leaders must be very adaptable and have a high degree of "learning agility". In addition to being experienced living abroad, they study broadly to stay informed about what’s happening around the world; and intend to understand things via the trans-disciplinary lens. They are open for the new perspective, keep objective observation and balanced viewpoint. Since global leaders likely have global customers, they need to understand the climate and challenges the customer may face in each region. As they make strategic decisions and place resources, they need to know what/where to leverage and what/where to avoid. 

Global capacity: Global leaders are leaders in a global capacity. Leaders have a defined set of competencies and skills they all share as being leaders. Most often, the global leaders have lived and, even better, have been raised or educated in more than one country, in very different cultures than his or her own. The vision and mindset of such people, influenced by multiple cultures, is the true cultural sensitivity a leader in a global capacity should have. It comes naturally to handle or lead multicultural teams as a professional if given an international/continental/global capacity. 

Digital paradigm: With dynamic of digitalization and globalization, much of the issue is organizations not understanding new digital paradigms. In particular more open systems and collaboration. For example, good collaboration involves searching for alternative solutions and vigorous debate instead of the political correctness that is dominating much decision making. If you trust and respect your multi-national colleagues and global partners, then the debate can generally occur and expertise can be more respected.

Adaptability: In one way 'global leadership' is synonymous with leading virtual teams across the globe. Global leaders manage people across functional and broad geographic boundaries. They must be comfortable leading virtual teams, multiplexing tasks and time zones, communicating and collaborating in a way that keeps everyone focused and connected in spite of the distances. Adaptability and an innate regard for others ("otherness") seem to be the difference makers that are needed beyond good management/leadership skills. Ex-pat assignments will reveal these attributes rather than guarantee success. Exposure to assignments, such as leading virtual teams, out of country assignments, or in some cases, local assignments that are "foreign" in familiarity to someone who exhibits leadership potential, may be an interim development step.

Culture Intelligence: People are gregarious by nature, they tend to organize themselves and it gives rise to a collective set of attitudes, beliefs, educational systems, notions of time and space, society structures, ways of doing business, etc. These items are -roughly speaking- the elements of a culture (regional, national, continental, age, ethnic background, religious beliefs, the list goes on and on). Hence, global leadership certainly has to take into account cultural intelligence and how that affects things: how you interact with one another, how you manage, and what’s your thinking process and how you make a decision; from the cognitive intelligence about others - as well as themselves! - the global leader's role is to get the most out of each and everyone - in terms of performance, outcomes, and working together.

The right button: Understanding different cultures, and, therefore, pushing the "right or positive buttons" associated with each different culture to attain the highest performance levels is, ultimately, the goal and true quality of a global leader. Business is all about people, and people communication styles and their drivers differ. To effectively engage, you need to adapt your style to align with the others and to respect and understand their drivers from both personal and business perspective. The fundamentals of respect, patience and flexibility cannot change; you must always give a person his or her pride and dignity. This is the basis of leadership. The most effective leader is someone who respect others and who is interested in different culture. A leader, who asks questions about the culture, initiates the process and invites the team to create an open atmosphere for change/ adaptation. Then, the follow through comes with allowing different cultures to be treated differently. This is the most effective way to highlight what that team can bring to the table.

Collective creativity: Global leadership is shifting toward grooming historic digital leadership skills embodying effective communication in networks of global conversations that inspires creativity in diverse domains of expertise. Global leaders of the future sense, feel, read, imagine and intuit possibilities in the breakdowns, competitive intelligence, and conversational moods; the crowd-sourcing or brainstorming is happening in real time with people and plays spontaneous networks of human and business operational concerns. Global leaders articulate strategic visions, interactive designs, and navigating directions where networks of management informally communicate the possibility of generative behavior changes in structure, patterns, and processes. Small core directed teams become experimental breakthrough that eventually produce radical impacts on current dynamic global performance engines.

If leadership is influence and discipline, then global leadership is a ‘meta-influence” and trans-disciplinary practice, from culture empathy to intelligence; from respect to empowerment, it is not only about art and science; but also about the attitude, altitude, and aptitude for authentic leadership.  


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