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Leadership Report

By kawaibaby81 Oct 08, 2008 2058 Words
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 might not be making some of the best choices sometimes. If you think you are knowledgeable about that particular country in which your company is doing business in, you should speak out, and let our opinion be heard. Most often, in the global arena, if mistakes are made, it would most likely cost the company millions even billions sometimes. So as a global leader, your goals and objects are very crucial to the company.

Global leaders should also be self motivated, and be enthusiastic about their work. I have always believed that if you are not enthusiastic about something, you are not going to be motivated enough to complete that task. Motivation and Enthusiasm go hand in hand. With a self motivated and enthusiastic global leader, he or she can help others be motivated and enthusiastic about their work. Especially in a different environment, such as if you had to go abroad to work with people with totally different backgrounds, with your motivation and enthusiasm, even if there were cultural differences, others would be influence by you to do their job well.

With more and more people traveling abroad to do business, being able to balance family and career in changing environments is also an important quality that a global leader should have. In some situations, these people have to stay in a certain country for a long period of time. The decision of taking your family with you is often a hard decision to make. When moving your family abroad, you not just have to cope with cultural differences yourself, but with your entire family as well. Of course, there will always be a possibility that you and your family would have to move back to the country of origin when the job is finished. Being able to balance your family and career means that you well manage the stress cause by your career move, as well as the stress cause by your family when trying to get use to a new environment.

One of the last qualities which a global leader should have is the ability to be culturally updated. With the changing world, comes changing cultures. For example China, it once had a very conservative culture in terms people’s values, but now, due to the open market economy, people in China have been exposed to outside cultures more and more. Likewise, people’s values change too. Being culturally undated basically means following the culture of the country, to better help you when doing business with companies from that culture. People in China like to do business over the dinner table. Is there still a trend in doing so? Has there been any change over these past years of open market economy, that quite possibly one could discuss business issues in a different context? I think by knowing, understanding cultures and being able to follow cultural trends will help global leaders in doing business with others, so I also think that this is a good quality to have.

Global Leadership Development Program Objectives

If there were to be global leadership development programs for prospective or current global leaders, I think the objectives should be to more towards cultural understanding. I have heard in a seminar once that other than the billion dollar companies in the United States, whom already has an extensive knowledge about doing business aboard, most of the million dollar companies, whom are just starting to go international have very little knowledge about the companies in which they are to do business in. So if I were to be in charge of a global leadership development program, I would first help these million dollar companies develop global leaders that can help them when doing business abroad.

I think the hardest quality a person can possess is the cultural understanding, and cultural insensitivity. All the other qualities such as communication or negotiation skills, having visions and goals, being motivation and enthusiastic, and balancing family and careers in a changing environment, can always be easily learned through company training. However development is a whole other issue, because development has a deeper meaning. Development extends what employees earn during training, and is harder to achieve.

Global Leadership Development Program Content

If I were to create a program for global leadership development, I would call my program the Leadership across Cultures Program (L.A.C.P). This would be a two month and a half program which includes role play, videos, and country visits. There could possibly be two LACP programs one for prospective global leaders, and one for current global leaders. For the program which involves prospective global leaders, the requirements have to be that these leaders have little to none exposure to diverse cultures. And for the program which involves current global leaders, it is mandatory that these leaders have had experience in doing business with companies from other cultures. Both programs will involve one to two weeks of preparation classes before entering a new culture. As well as one to two weeks of deep briefing classes when coming back for this exposure of new culture. The difference between these two programs is that the goal for the prospective global leadership program is to give these leaders a first hand exposure to a different culture. And the goal for the current global leadership program is to go a step further, and actually practice communication/negotiation skills, or which ever aspect they think they might need to improve, within a diverse cultural context.

The program for prospective global leaders should include the following aspects:

Week One:Introduction to Cultures, Videos
Week Two:Lecture on Doing Business with Different Cultures Week Three:Role Play in a cross cultural negotiation scenario Week Four:Country visit of Choice, Site Seeing
Week Five:Lectures from representatives of different local companies Week Six:Visits to different Local Companies
Week Seven:Experiencing Everyday Life in a Local Company of Choice Week Eight:Come Back, Lecture on Cultural Diversity
Week Nine:Role Play with the same negotiation scenario
Week Ten:Presentation on What Was Learned Through this Program by
Each Individual

The program for current global leaders should include the following aspects:

Week One:Presentation on Leadership Views While Doing Business with a Cultural Diverse Company by Each Individual
Week Two:Doing into a Different Country and Company of Choice Week Three:Picking an Issue to Solve
Week Four:Working with Local Company Employees and Leaders to Solve the Problem
Week Five:Reaching a Conclusion / Consensus
Week Six:Going to another Local Company
Week Seven: Picking an Issue to Solve
Week Eight: Working with Local Company Employees and Leaders to Solve the Problem
Week Nine:Reaching a Conclusion / Consensus
Week Ten:Deep Briefing on What They have Learned Through these Past Two Experiences

I think that for the perspective leadership program, it is very important that these leaders can pick which ever country they are most interested in, instead of having it already selected for them, because they would be able to get more out of the program in terms of personal development. Of course, it would be best if the current leadership program had that kind of choice as well, because even though they already have previous exposure to different cultures, I am sure there are still places or companies which they are interested in, and would like introduction to.

What needs to be noted here is that in order for this program to work, connections needs to be made with the countries in which this program will offer these global leaders to visit. Connections needs to be make also with different companies, so that these global leaders could chose which company they are most interested in, in order to better the learning experience. Since there is no limit on the background information of these leaders, there should be a variety of companies chosen as well, such as textiles, IT, financial consulting, etc.

The roles of the program instructors are different when comparing these two programs as well. In the prospective global leadership program, the instructor’s role is to be a teacher, so these prospective leaders can begin to understand the importance of being culturally understanding in the global economy. And the role of instructors with the experience global leaders is that these instructors are more like consultants, consulting the leaders if they come across a problem. So the second program is actually more flexible in terms of where the leader wants to go with it. And I think these two programs if implemented correctly can possibly be very successful.

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