Are you a tourist or a traveler? Are you satisfied with few good snapshots of your leadership journey or do you want to pursue something deeper and more meaningful? The tourist vice traveler analogy is useful as it proposes the emerging sophisticated leader, you might call them a “traveler” take a broader view of the cultural and social dimensions around them thus enabling that leader to see patterns in organizations and the surrounding society. One such pattern suggests cultures are blending (Handy, 1995) through advanced technology and the attainment of more affluence; while at the same time fighting to maintain a sense of nationalistic stability. In response the task of the “traveler” is to overcome national differences by embracing the best practices from around the world (Morrison, 2000).
To accomplish this task the leader must be a renaissance person capable of more than simply being flexible and adaptable rather they must be malleable; having the ability to deal with robust environments rather than solely ambiguous ones. Notwithstanding developing such a renaissance person seems unlikely; from an organization standpoint everyone influences each other by their actions therefore everyone has the potential to contribute, or detract from, the leadership of the organization (Tubbs & Schulz, 2006). With this in mind all leaders then must be developed into renaissance leaders, of course this process must begin somewhere and that is from the designer of the organizations purpose and strategy. This leadership role creates context by making sure that everyone understands what they are trying to accomplish and how they fit it (Hollenbeck & McCall, 2003). This approach puts a premium on diagnostic skill directed at both self an situation; such a skill is highly dependent on experiences, the kinds that allow one to take a measure of oneself (Hollenbeck & McCall, 2003) and that enable leaders to use the beneficial aspects of each individual and culture in the organization for everyone’s benefit.
Handy, C. (1995). The age of paradox. Harvard Business Press.
Hollenbeck, G. P., & McCall, M. W. (2003). Competence, not competencies: Making global executive development work. Advances in global leadership, 3, 101-119.
Morrison, A. J. (2000). Developing a global leadership model. Human Resource Management, 39(2-3), 117-131.
Tubbs, S. L., & Schulz, E. (2006). Exploring a taxonomy of global leadership competencies and meta-competencies. Journal of American Academy of Business, 8(2), 29-34.