What Leadership Qualities are Required in Global Firms?

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Globalization > Best Practices > What Leadership Qualities are Required in Global Firms?

What Leadership Qualities are Required in Global Firms?
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands, Moderator
Bishop (2013) argues that in our global and dynamic world, leaders of international organizations require five elements or characteristics to successfully lead their organizations in today’s global environment:
1. Embracing diversity: The assumption is that cultural differences and diversities can be powerful mechanisms when understood correctly. Leaders should embrace cultural differences and diversities throughout their organizations. It is not about why such differences and diversities exist, but on the composition of these diversities. Once it is understood how these cultures, people and economies are different, leaders can take advantage of it.
2. Understanding the role of values: Values are often deeply rooted into a country’s cultural identity. Therefore, leaders are required to pay attention to these values and understand in what way they shape culture.
3. Striving for a global mindset: Next to their local mind-sets, leaders should embed a global mindset in their day-to-day businesses and thinking processes and in the strategy of their company.
4. Accepting the global dimension: Actually it is about finding a balance between global and local thinking: global leaders should be able to shift their global view to local borders while local leaders should expand their mindset beyond locality. A global-local mind-set is also highly important because it encourages the design of innovations and innovative strategies.
5. Establishing socio-technical systems: To benefit from technology, people are needed. Socio-technical systems are needed to integrate people and technology on both a global and a local scale. In order to effectively incorporate knowledge into local and global business processes, people firstly need to know how technologies work and how to use these technologies.
Source: Bishop, W.H. (2013) “The Elements of Leadership in a Global Environment” Global Business and Organizational Excellence Vol. 32 Iss.5 pp. 78-85
 

 
Global Leadership Qualities
Mohan Seshadri, Teacher, India, Member
Great points! While most are aware of the dictum "Think global, act local" I am yet to witness this being followed in letter and spirit by the expats.
An important question is: how to transcend one's own comfort zone when confronted with other cultures, habits, etc?
 

 
Requisites for Global Leadership
VENKATESH, Manager, India, Member
An open mind to embrace cultural values that don't conflict with the basic values of Integrity, Character and Credibility is as per me one of the prime requisites for a global mindset.
It should not just be economics of convenience.
 

 
Leadership Elements Must Be Inculcated Into the Organization Being Led
De Monte, Canada, Member
Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. All that is being said is great and wonderful and just words until implemented.
A great leader inculcates (Editor: ~implants, instills, implements) the organizational culture to re-organize / transform / re-align / re-engineer / modernize / etc. to make it work / perform / deliver. One may pick one's favourite words for the same thing, to confuse the employees into believing that this time it will be different.
Until leadership is defined in scientific words based on analysis of data, information and knowledge, we will continue to struggle to find, describe and most importantly, implement leadership in human organizations.
 

 
Instilling Leadership Elements
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@De Monte: Thank you for your thoughtful reaction. I agree actions speak louder than words. On the other hand, "Unless a variety of opinions are laid before us, we have no opportunity of selection, but are bound of necessity to adopt the particular view which may have been brought forward" (Herodotus, 5th century BC, Greek historian).
Where can these leadership elements be inculcated into? I see at least 3 options:
- Leaders should indeed aim to implement certain of these global 'elements' into the culture of the multinational organization he/she is leading.
- On top of that, I believe the leader should also aim to inculcate or develop certain of these global leadership 'elements' in her/himself (some coaching may come in handy).
- Finally, Bishop's criteria are also worth considering when we're creating a job or search profile for (a successor of) leaders and senior managers of a global corporation.
 

 
Leadership Qualities for Global Firms
VENKATESH, Manager, India, Member
@De Monte: I think we all who are contributing are in the business of business and not politics. Yes, we use some words for what we do and what we intend to do. We tread a path that seemingly was right, We go astray only to come back and realise the reality. So long we correct ourselves we are on the way to leadership, global or not.
 

 
Understanding the Values/Culture is a Value for Global Leaders
yanney John Parker, Business Consultant, Ghana, Member
Culture and values as we all know are pivotal to organizational environment. What makes it a value for leaders to understand and admire cultures and values. Indeed, to lead one must value the culture of the people. In this way it gives a distinctive identity to people, because of the values attached to it.
 

 
Global Leadership Qualities
Fernando Ochoa, Manager, Mexico, Member
It is worth to say that in a global firm the leader has to have the quality to break paradigms and risk to learn from ways of conducting business in different cultures. By doing this, and by being humble in the process, leading a global organization could tend to be more successful.
 

 
On 2. Understanding the role of values
julia burlacu, Entrepreneur, Mexico, Member
It is important to understand the way values shape the culture of a particular country A. But we need to also look at the challenges that a company from a different set of values country B face, and how its objectives will be achieved if culture stands in the way.
One example of the strongly debated and forced upon some cultures is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Just because we understand a culture of a country where we do business, that doesn't mean we should follow its rules. There, an outside company has to stand its ground and so do its leaders.
 

 
Situational Leadership in Global Firms
Tan Poh Lip, Manager, Malaysia, Member
Successful leaders focus on results. And especially on sustaining results over time by developing the commitment of employees to the goal or task at hand in all kinds of unexpected situations. People from different countries do things differently. This is the beauty of having different people in the world. No one is the same, just like there are many kinds of fruits providing different tastes. Otherwise, the world would be so boring…
I said effective leaders are always concerned with what makes the followers feel positive about their tasks. Is the person committed to the goal or task because he or she knows why it is important? Also, do feelings of mutual trust and respect exist?
Attitudes and feelings drive what people do when you're not there. Positive attitudes and feelings lead to positive results over time. Such situational leadership with positive attitudes is a key success factor.
 

 
Leadership Values of a Global Organization
francisslobo, Professor, India, Member
While many things go to build global leadership, it is important to hold the values of probity (Editor: ~complete and confirmed integrity; uprightness) and mutual respect to add on. We need to develop business values and people values that are ethical. Without these will our lives or leadership be worthwhile?
 

 
Global Leadership Practice
Mathew Paul, Manager, India, Member
Very great points. But how are we going to put into practice? Very simple. By putting "Love your neighbor as you love yourself" into practice. Do this and continue to do this.
 

 
Culture is Dynamic and so must be Leadership
Vince Martin, Manager, United Kingdom, Member
I agree with the mentioned points on leadership. In all of this, we should never lose sight of the dynamism of culture. The access to information and one another enabled by the www means that the rate of change is increasing. The adage one cannot embrace change unless one is prepared to be hurt is very important. What is good leadership today may be wrong tomorrow as the culture of the people, the market and the company changes.
Good leadership is about embracing the changes that are positive and minimizing those that are negative. However the thing that is most often missed is that leadership requires followership and that is what modern society is ignoring in the search for self fulfillment, at the expense of shared success. Somehow the needs of the all must be demonstrated to outweigh the ego of the one. How many of today's leaders would allowed to take control if all went wrong like in a mining disaster or in a major catastrophe? Difficult to test!
 

 
A Leader is not Dreamer
Tran le Phuong, Teacher, Mongolia, Member
Leaders must have good ears and eyes: see "here" and look "there" at the same time. His feet must be on the ground, but his head must raise to the sky. In short, he is person who combines farsightedness and understanding the reality very well.
 

 
Cultures are Dynamic, but Some Leadership Qualities Remain
Istvan Szeman, Consultant, Hungary, Member
@Vince Martin: I am glad to see comments from this angle on leadership, highlighting some key capacity, which is required, no matter what organizational or environmental complexity is around: leadership starts when followership appears. I make distinction between ability to influence and ability to lead by this factor, namely the willingness of others to voluntarily follow.
I would argue that, although cultures are changing a lot over the years, over generations and over countries, voluntary followership and sharing success remain a stable pre-requisite to securing commitment of the people to organizational objectives and daily work.
The mining emergency test is a good example, even though not practically possible, crisis events at everyday work delivers clues on members of the community with the kind of qualities we are looking for.
 

 
Leadership Qualities and their Effects on the Firm
yanney John Parker, Business Consultant, Ghana, Member
A leader's vision must change organization for the better. That's why it is important CEO vision by firms has the potential of effecting change in the firm for the better. The CEO's vision and leadership style are most often responsible for a change in the organization of firms for the better, irrespective of the culture. Culture is also important when it comes to change, yet the leadership qualities of the leader may also determine the culture.
 

     
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