As the countries march into the global arena, so have the many companies of these countries. Everything you see now is going international, multinational, or even transnational. For instance, what once was the land of Ford’s Model T’s, are now in competition with Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, BMW, etc. What once was “Made in USA,” is now “Made in China,” “Made in Japan,” Made in Indonesia,” or “Made in Mexico.” What we see now days is the formation of a global economy, global culture, and the formation of this global economy requires global leadership.
Definition of Global Leadership
Organizations worldwide “try to select leaders who articulate a vision that guides them toward achieving long-term goals and short-term objectives,” as Nancy J. Adler said in her book “International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior” (164). Although this is just a definition of a leader in each of theses countries, does it incorporate the same definition for a global leader as well? I think the definition of a leader today, a global leader, is a person who is well rounded with a good knowledge of the current global culture, whom possesses cultural understanding qualities, on top of the fact that they have the enthusiasm toward achieving long-term goals and short-term objectives.
Qualities of a Global Leader
Global leaders of such stature have many qualities that make them who they are. They must understand how to be culturally insensitive, and have good communication or negotiation skills. Global leaders should also be good listeners, have their own visions and goals, be self motivated and enthusiastic about what they are doing, can well balance their family and career in changing environments, and they also have to be culturally updated.
One cannot judge whether or not being culturally insensitive is good in comparison to being culturally sensitive, because it deals with individuals in different situations. Sometimes being culturally sensitive is good, because one needs to understand one’s own culture, but when doing business in a global context, being culturally sensitive might not be a good way to perceive things. So if a leader can learning how to be culturally insensitive when doing business with culturally diverse people, it might just be an advantage to the company.
When dealing with people, it is essential to have good communication and negotiation skills. This not just applies to everyday life, it applies to the communications and negotiations across cultures. In a normal business day communication activities include the ones between colleagues, clients, and even the partners from other countries. Communicating effectively will not just help you achieve your goals, but it also helps you build good relationships. As Adler mentioned in her book, “Cross-cultural communication confronts us with our limited ability to perceive, interpret, and evaluate people and situations” (99). Everyone has their own perspectives already made before entering a new culture, so knowing where to put the balance between our own biases, and generalizing everything else with our biases is the key to a good communication or negotiation with others.
Being good listeners does not necessarily mean that you should not speak when communicating or negotiating with others. It simply means for you to listen to what others have to say first, before putting our own opinions and interpretations into the conversation. In a cross cultural communication or negotiating process, if you do not have good listening skills, you might offend others, because you could quite possibly put your own biases in place of everything else, even before other people can get a chance to speak out. So having good listening skills is also a necessary quality for a global leader.
Global leaders should also encompass their own goals and objectives. Sometimes when you company tells you to do something cross culturally, they...
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