CEOs around the globe are increasingly finding themselves working in more complex situations. With the development of more advanced technology, travelling and virtual communication are much easier and cheaper. The world is quickly turning into a ‘global village’ in which leaders can interact more closely with their teams and peers. Although working internationally has become more frequent and in most cases easier than before, leading across cultures can still be quite challenging for a number of reasons.
CEOs today must demonstrate a unique combination of skills to effectively lead a global organisation to international success. In addition to core leadership skills, CEOs need other intercultural skills ranging from cultural adaptability and awareness to global communication and language skills. Global leaders with a suite of intercultural skills and knowledge will be better placed to harness and manage cross-cultural differences, no matter their cultural background or the territory they work in.
A recent article in the Guardian highlighted five skills that 70 chief executives around the globe demonstrated:
- Passionate curiosity – interest in understanding any and every situation through questioning, listening and talking with those involved
- Battle-hardened confidence – ability to face new and unpredictable situations with confidence
- Team understanding – understanding of their teams – the dynamics, objectives and challenges they face
- Simple mindset – ability to make quick and concise actions
- Fearlessness – lack of fear for future development and the improvement of current situations
These are just a few of the skills global leaders should demonstrate for international success but there are a number of other competencies that global leaders need in order to make an even greater impact on their global teams and objectives. Some of these include:
- Openness – an open attitude to new ways of thinking, working and behaving
- Cultural adaptability – ability to adapt their own behaviour and judgements to different situations
- Emotional strength – a positive attitude to life and the ability to ‘bounce back’ when things go wrong
- Perceptiveness – ability to identify cues that are not evident in verbal language and accurately interpret and understand them
- Cultural understanding – ability to research other cultures and increase their knowledge about traditions, values and attitudes in that environment
This is just the start of a list which could go on for pages. The important thing is for leaders to recognise that they will be required to adapt their style and skills and not just stick to the core leadership skills that may have worked so well for them before when leading across cultures .
So whether it’s having a passionate curiosity or cultural adaptability, CEOs of today’s global world need to be able to apply their skills to different cultural contexts. In doing so they will not only be able to effectively influence international communication processes but they will further break down interpersonal boundaries resulting in tremendous value for both the leader and the organisation on a global scale.
Competencies above have been taken from a number of sources including The International Profiler
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2012