Developing solid leadership competencies is a difficult task in any environment adding the complexity of globalization into the equation makes the task that much more challenging; indeed developing into a global leader is more about learning and growing than it is about a final outcome. The journey will involve traditional business lessons of course; more importantly however, are the personal development lessons of reflection, openness to new ideas, people and ways of envisioning the “world.” These lessons then are transferred and re-learned throughout the organization in the creation of a much more open and creative organization that can thrive in any culture it resides in. While each leader must develop and enhance a set of core competencies to be successful in this new global environment there is no one perfect set of competencies because as McCall & Hollenbeck (2002) note there is no universal global job. Each position and individual is different thus the learning experiences and resulting competencies developed are different however; the goal is the same developing a global mindset.
A global mindset is the ability to influence individuals, groups, organizations and systems that have different intellectual, social, and psychological knowledge or intelligence from your own (Cohen, 2010). This would suggest more than just an awareness of how people from different cultures think and operate it would mean being comfortable in that environment. This ability would seem to come from the four global literacies as described by (Rosen, 2000); personal literacy, social literacy, business literacy, and cultural literacy. I would argue that personal literacy sets the tone for the development of the other three in that it allows us to think in “both-and” terms rather than only “either-or” terms (Rosen, 2000 pg., 61) this ability to deal in paradox and inter-dependence is essential for the global leader.
Cohen, S. L. (2010). Effective global leadership requires a global mindset. Industrial and Commercial Training, 42(1), 3-10.
McCall, M. W., & Hollenbeck, G. P. (2002). Developing global executives: The lessons of international experience. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Rosen, R. H. (2000). Global literacies: Lessons on business leadership and national cultures. New York: Simon & Schuster.