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Talented leaders don't necessarily make talented global leaders

Excellent leaders of heterogeneous teams don't automatically perform 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 the message is magnified many times for global leaders. They require a high capability in emotional intelligence. 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.

Equally, they need to be able to appreciate the behaviour 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.

In addition, they have to have the conceptual capacity to articulate a clear vision for what is invariably a challenging and complex global business environment. They must be able to communicate their vision compellingly and in a way that offers everyone in every country they trade in, a consistent picture of future success.

The challenge this presents is in 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 also requires a willingness to learn about local adaptations that the corporate culture needs to make for regional effectiveness.

IDC's consultants have considerable experience of global diversity and inclusion, talent management and leadership development strategies and their implementation.

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