Most people understand that there is a growing need for leadership development across just about every industry. In response to this growing need many organizations have put leadership development programs in place to equip their high potential employees with the leadership skills they will need for success. Although, this is a great first step there is often one significant factor that is overlooked. The future of leadership development will need to focus on developing global leaders.

The success of future leaders does not only depend on their ability to network and lead teams within their own country, but also on their ability to lead global teams. According to a recent Gallup report, technology has greatly accelerated the expansion of global trade. There is now a growing trend of multinational, multimillion dollar startup companies and this trend only expected to continue growing (1). 48% of organizations now consider developing global capabilities in their leaders a top priority (2). Unfortunately, only 18% of multinational companies have a strong leadership pipeline that equips high performing employees with global leadership competencies (3). In this article we will further explore the concept of global leadership to help you better understand both it’s importance and how it works.

A Global Approach to Leadership Development

Taking a global approach to leadership development can be broken down into two important steps. The first is by providing the right training. This often includes topics such as cultural awareness training and a range of communications courses. The specific topics should be determined by addressing both the needs of the organization and individuals participating in the leadership training. The second step is to provide the kinds of international assignments and interactions that will help developing leaders gain the experience they need to reach full competency and a global mindset.

Development and Coaching for a Global Mindset

There are a few simple ways you can help your leaders develop a more global outlook in their approach to leadership. You can first start by promoting and celebrating diversity. This helps to set an early example of your companies values, ideas and expectations when it comes to working with diverse groups.

Global leaders will also need to have a working knowledge of other cultures, varying leadership styles ,view points and market trends. Having this kind of deep understanding will require continuous learning. You can help promote continuous learning and foster curiosity by providing opportunities to interact and learn about other cultures. This could be done by creating virtual global teams, by hiring employees with diverse backgrounds, through international assignments and by providing cultural training.

The Behavior and Process of Global Leadership

There are a wide range of behaviors and attributes experts suggest global leaders need. Although, many of these attributes vary depending on the expert you are consulting there are about 5 that just about everyone agrees upon. These five behaviors are essential for success in global leadership roles.

  • Emotional intelligence

    Global leaders often encounter high stress situations. They need to have the ability to understand and effectively manage their feelings and thoughts. Having an awareness of their own feelings, reactions, strengths and weaknesses will help them think rationally under pressure.

  • The ability to see the big picture

    Your organizations global leaders need to be able to keep the bigger picture in mind. This will help them develop strategies and partnerships that will help the organization work towards their future goals.

  • Networking skills

    Global leaders need to develop the ability to work with and create partnerships with others across the globe. This means they need to have the expert level of communication skills that are needed to build strong partnerships with organizations and leaders from different cultures.

  • Inquisitiveness

    As mentioned before a genuine curiosity about other cultures and a desire to continuously learn about them is needed for leaders to be successful in today’s world. Effective global leaders are always learning more and asking questions about different cultures and trends.

  • Inclusivity

    Successful global leaders understand the importance of inclusivity. Incorporating the ideas and views of others drives innovation which is an essential for teams who wish to have a competitive advantage. Inclusive leaders are able to learn more from others.

Wrap Up

A global perspective is quickly becoming necessary in today’s current business climate. The Harvard Business Review recently reported that the international trade of goods, services, finance, people, and data contributed 10% to the world’s GDP in 2014 which is equal to $7.8 trillion (3). Integrating global skills into your training programs can help you maximize the effectiveness of your leadership programs as well as secure the future of your business.

Learn more about how you can future proof your business and read the eBook High Potential Leadership Programs

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