Attributes and Competencies of the Global Leader

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Attributes and Competencies of the Global Leader


Today we are living in a globalized world, where organizations are multicultural and diverse, people are sharing a global language (English) and a global medium of communications (Internet), technology is booming, small connected world and changes are faster than ever. To be an effective leader of emerging organizations in the global world one will need to see the world and the workforce with a global mindset (Marquardt & Berger 2000). To cope with the changes in a globalized business world, leaders will need to develop different attributes and competencies, such as: visionary, effective communication, innovation, motivational, creative, spirituality and concern of ethics, charismatic and risk taking.

However, some of these skills are not essential for a leader to succeed, for example not all successful leaders are charismatic or creative. On the other hand, there are some leadership competencies like effective communication, visionary, honesty/integrity, motivational/inspirational are essential for a real leader. In my opinion, if these skills aren’t available in a leader, then he/she is not practicing the leadership effectively and will not be distinguished from the crowd. In this paper I will examine the four attributes most needed by men and women to lead in the new world, and will highlight how these attributes are going to evolve over time.

Visionary leaders

Leaders start to envision when they are unhappy with the present situation, and want to change the future. Leadership starts with having a vision, then developing a plan to achieve it through the followers (Giuliani 2002). Real leaders envision an exciting highly attractive future for their organizations, inspire and share the vision, enlist others in a common vision, keep visioning as ongoing process. According to Kouzes & Posner the visionary leaders as described in The Leadership Challenge book "compared to all other the other leadership qualities constituents expect, this is the one that most distinguishes leaders from other credible people" (Kouzes & Posner, 2007)

Leaders should believe in their vision, and have the will to translate it to reality and communicate it to the followers. To be a successful leader it's not enough only to build the company's vision, but also to inspire workers, customers, colleagues and stakeholders about the vision (Marquardt & Berger 2000). Once the followers clearly understand the vision they will work towards that direction, and will set smaller visions, missions, and goals to achieve the organizational vision. In addition, a real leader must envision together with the followers the type of the future they desire. Having a shared vision of the future helps the individuals of any organization to take decisions wisely. They can build their daily and strategic decisions based on having outcomes that will align with the shared vision.

In addition, visionary leaders with the ability to forecast the future can take the company forward and help in gaining a competitive advantage. When John Kennedy set a goal of putting a man on the moon by 1970 or Bill Gates aimed to put a computer in each home, they were focusing attention on attainable future goals (Marquardt & Berger 2000). These leaders and many others had a unique ability to search new business opportunities and new markets. They believed in their sense and vision, although it was against the common sense that others believed on. For example, in 1943, Thomas Watson, the CEO of IBM said "I think there is a world market of maybe five computers". This tells us the difference between him and a visionary leader like Bill Gates, who envisioned the future of having a PC in each home, and gained a competitive advantage over the others well established IT companies! (Forster 2009).

It's very important in a globalized business world to have a clear direction, where to go and how to reach there....
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