The Difference between Global and Domestic Leaders
As compared with domestic leadership, global one involves additional skills and knowledge. Domestic leaders have to be competent only in the field they work in while global leaders are expected to know business and political situation worldwide. Global leaders also have to work with people from different cultures and adapt to those cultures, understanding their trends, tastes, traditions.
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Global Leadership Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them
The Challenge to Know Everything
As Smith and Victorson (2012, p. 51) state, global leaders have to ‘think global and act local’. So, the first substantial challenge in today’s global environment is the need to know a lot. Even if the company a leader works for is based in America, he or she needs to know how business is done in different parts of Europe or Australia. That is extremely hard, however, if leaders cope with this, they become powerful and valued, and the challenge turns into numerous opportunities. To achieve this, leaders should travel a lot to compare business, cultural and political situations in different countries. Besides, they also should follow the news, spend a lot of time on learning and self-development, and communicate with people from different countries.
The Cultural Challenge
I would say that a global leader is a domestic one but multiplied by hundreds of different cultures. Therefore, another important challenge is cultural. It usually brings many additional problems, such as ethnocentrism or prejudice, which inevitably interfere with regular work and communication (Northous 2013). Even when leaders can step back from their own culture and do not feel any ethnocentrism or prejudice, most frequently, they still have to deal with those feelings in their followers. It is hard to build a team free from cultural antipathies but if it turns out well, the team becomes close-knit and unbeatable. To achieve this, leaders can arrange the team building to train needed interpersonal skills in team members and teach them to understand each other regardless of the diversity of nationalities.
Barriers of Global Leadership
In Five Barriers to Global Leadership (2011), Kevan Hall talks about the major barriers that global leaders face. First of all, it is the distance. When face-to-face communication is impossible, people’s relations and trust can worsen. Another significant barrier is different times zones, which can make the communication even more complicated. Besides, the organizational complexity also plays its role. Because of complex structures, fast dynamics, and multiple tasks, it is not always easy for a leader to understand which problem is global, and which one is local. Finally, the main barrier is the cultural diversity.
The Strategies Organizations Can Use to Maximize the Impact of Their Leaders
Firstly, when hiring people for leading positions, organizations should consider their emotional intelligence and as well as the cultural one, which ‘picks up where emotional intelligence leaves off’ (Earley & Mosakowski 2004, p. 1). Those are imperative for leaders since they help to deal with common leadership problems. So, they maximize the impact of the organization’s future leaders from the very beginning. Besides, this strategy is easy to implement since the emotional intelligence can be measured (Earley & Mosakowski 2004). Additionally, organizations can provide the newcomers with the lists of do’s and don’ts that will address different global leadership challenges and barriers.
Considering the most complicated challenges from my point of view, for developing effective global leadership practices, I would use strategies connected to education and cultural problems. I assume that leaders should take various education programs to both expand their knowledge and develop their skills. I also think that organizations should provide the opportunities to do this. Besides, the interventions, workshops and team building are necessary to teach people how to collaborate with each other regardless of the cultures. As for specific leadership practices and behaviors, which have been reviewed this week, I like the idea to use social networks to ‘understand and appreciate diverse viewpoints’, because it is efficient and easy to implement (Smith & Victorson 2012, p. 50). I think this practice should even be encouraged by the organizations.
Earley, PC & Mosakowski, E 2004, ‘Cultural intelligence’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 82, no. 10, pp. 139-146.
Five Barriers to Global Leadership 2011, Global Integration. Web.
Northous, PG 2013, Leadership: Theory and Practice, 6th edn, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Smith, MC & Victorson, J 2012, ‘Developing a global mindset: Cross-Cultural Challenges and Best Practices for Assessing and Grooming High Potentials for Global Leadership’, People and Strategy, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 42-51.