The context of global business is rapidly changing, and as Bob Bratt says, global business leaders need to be able to steer their company through uncertain and turbulent conditions. Global business leaders need to provide conscious leadership that is supported by courage and compassion for the well-being of their company and the world.
Effective Internationalization of Business
If your company has operations, alliances, senior managers and partners in many regions around the world, you need a skill set that helps you work across national, regional and subnational boundaries. Some of the skills required are:
• Experience working overseas
• Sensitivity to diverse cultures
• Strategic thinking that has a global reach
• Good negotiation abilities
• Clear expression of their vision with enthusiasm and confidence
Qualities a Global Leader Needs
• Leaders in the global business arena need to have a strong sense of self. This allows them to understand different types of people with whom they come in contact. It also includes a deep conviction about their responsibilities and makes them able to face challenges and not lose their purpose even when pressured by others to do so. Self-awareness will allow them to adapt their behavior according to the context.
• The leader must see their company in a broad context that goes far beyond the local employees and includes all the partners that make the company a success.
• Leaders must recognize their capacity to change the world for good or bad. They must be aware of the impact their environmental and social policies have on the local and global community.
• A good leader will know when to move ahead and when to use time-tested models. Since global businesses work with multiple business models simultaneously around the world, they must understand what is important to keep and what needs to be avoided.
• In a highly competitive environment, empathy can work wonders from employee engagement to product design and new market opportunities.
• Leaders need to be honest and authentic. In today’s world of social networking, your actions and words can reach millions of people within minutes. People want to know the people behind a product, and corporate ethics was never more public than it is today.
Avoiding Cultural Stereotypes
In a business that operates throughout the world, it’s important for leaders to remember that the people with whom they work are individuals with strengths and weaknesses. Cultural origin is only one aspect of the person’s character. Leaders need cultural and personal sensitivity with a holistic approach to individuals to successfully engage with or lead people from various social and cultural origins.
Global business leaders from different cultural origins have different approaches to leadership qualities. For example, leaders from some parts of Asia may put importance on visioning while northern Europeans may put importance on a global mind frame. According to Manfred Kets de Vries, the twelve qualities required by global executive leaders are:
• Empowering others
• Energizing others
• Giving rewards and feedback
• Team building
• Designing and aligning
• Global mind frame
• Outside orientation
• Live a balanced life
• Emotional intelligence
• Able to handle stress
The combination of a clear vision for the growth and future of a business on a global scale as well as a sense of appreciation for different points of view and humility creates a powerful personality for anyone with the aim of becoming a global business leader.