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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: September 2015

By Ian Dodds – The Inclusion Builder

Talented leaders are not necessarily talented global leaders

Excellent leaders of homogeneous teams do not automatically perform nearly so well with diverse teams. This is because they need to acquire skills in leading people from different cultural backgrounds. They can then draw on the different experiences and cultural reference frameworks of their diverse team members to find more creative and longer lasting solutions to customer, product and business process problems.

If this is the case for diverse teams in one country, then, of course, the message is magnified many times for global leaders. They require a high capability in emotional intelligence. That is they need to possess the 5 components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation (the propensity to suspend judgement and think before acting); motivation, involving a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money and status; empathy; social skill, including being interactively effective. Hence, they need to have a good and realistic understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses and use this awareness to manage their behaviour and reactions across the vast range of situations that will confront them in their global role.

Furthermore, they need to be able to appreciate the behaviours of the culturally diverse people they interact with, customers, employees, shareholders, community leaders, suppliers, etc. This cultural interpersonal effectiveness is powerful in enabling them to inspire, influence, motivate and drive business success across international boundaries and involves understanding e.g.

- Low vs. high context language cultures;

- Direct vs. indirect communication cultures;

- Informal vs. formal communication cultures;

- Cultures where “Saving Face” is important.

IDC has a highly successful workshop which it offers on ‘Relating and Doing Business Successfully Cross-Culturally’ and covers developing capabilities in understanding the above.

In addition, global leaders have to have the conceptual capacity to articulate a clear vision for what is invariably a challenging and complex international business environment. They must be able to communicate their vision compellingly and by means which offer everyone, in every country they trade in, a consistent picture of future success. A challenge this presents is that of modelling the behaviours that are needed to drive the global vision. Global leaders have to represent the Corporate culture that is needed for international success to everyone they meet and do this with assurance and humility. It requires too a willingness to learn about local adaptations that will be needed to the Corporate culture for regional effectiveness.

IDC’s consultants have considerable experience of global, cross-cultural, D&I, talent management and leadership development strategies and their implementation.

Dr Ian Dodds, 29 Aug 2015





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