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Leadership is a key component of all organizations but its function and capacity are getting more complicated with increased involvement in globalization and technology development (Punnett, 2004). Technological advances extend the possibility of global economy which has changed the way people do business and communicate. Cross-cultural managers must look at the world change as a challenge and an opportunity for organizational growth and individual development. In addition, to cope with the changes, international business educators and facilitators need to respond swiftly to the impacts of demographics, technology, and globalization in order to offer specific job skill development on global leadership, work ethic, and continuous learning (Aggarwa, 2011).
As the demand of knowledge-based enterprises rises, it is both employees’ and managers’ responsibilities to enhance the success of workplace learning and workforce development (Harteis, 2012). Global leaders need to build their interpersonal skills to deal with racial conflicts that have occurred and to develop individuals and groups in the workplace (Byrd, 2007).The importance of effective leadership in cross-cultural management has been emphasized in the literature (Nguyen & Umemoto, 2009).
Since globalization and technology have been accelerating business changes and creating challenges, today’s global leaders need to acquire a set of competencies that will enable them to implement their vision and lead effectively. How to develop effective leaders with the skills needed to adequately deal with organizational challenges has been a challenge for all organizations (Amagoh, 2009). Global leaders must be equipped with the leadership skills required in the multicultural workplace. In other words, important leadership components and significant global leadership skills need to be identified to enhance international leaders’ competitiveness and performance efficiency.
To follow a rapidly changing environment, leaders need more interpersonal skills to meet current and future challenges. Here are the key leadership skills that global leaders need to have. Firstly, leader need to understand cultural stereotypes. For example, lead people with respect. A key for employees to achieve their full potential is to treat them with respect (Choan, 2003). Respecting every individual is a key principle of effective leadership that incorporates other aspects of morality. People have different expectations of how they like to be treated based on their cultural backgrounds and values. By respecting individual character traits and unique attributes, global leaders can avoid cultural stereotypes and unleash the full potential of workers in a diverse workplace. Second example is, avoid stereotyping and personal biases. Global leaders need to understand local culture, stand in the employees’ shoes, and be open minded to differences (Frost & Walker, 2007). Understanding cultural stereotyping helps leaders overcome personal bias and value others in a diverse workplace. Personal biases against foreigners or people who are different from oneself can cause failures in finding qualified employees and building employees’ trust, as well as their commitment and productivity (Dubrin, 2004). It is important for leaders to be objective in leadership practice without making assumptions. Leaders also need to lead by example to let employees believe ethical behaviors (e.g. respecting the difference of others and avoiding personal bias) are seriously emphasized in the organization (Roy, 2012). Through cultural awareness and sensitivity, organizations can then have a better chance of success in global competition and adequate return on investments (Okoro, 2012).The second one the key leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, search for and utilize available resources. The current technologically explosive era creates a global village where people work together without geographic and psychological boundaries. The fast-growing technology development not only helps the organization increase its production and profit but also assists leaders enhance efficiency of team work and activities (Dubrin, 2004). Abilities to use innovative technology products for example, video conferencing, instant messaging, e-mail, and others are important technical skills to promote global leaders’ interpersonal skills and international leadership practices (Roy, 2012). In addition, extant scholarly research provides useful and effective theories, experimental findings, and frameworks such as leadership theories and strategic approaches that can be adopted and utilized to increase the effectiveness of leadership practices in the field (Swanson & Holton, 2009). Leaders could acquire valuable information from literature and adjust their leadership styles or strategies to better fit for the organizational needs and future challenges.However, because of advanced technology, people do not have as much as face to face interactions as formerly. Limited physical contact challenges global leaders to lead and influence those off-workplace employees. To solve technological disadvantages in leadership practices, leaders may overcome the barriers via different leadership approaches and management policies. Moreover, because of increased numbers of multinational companies and increased interdependences of nations, there is no generally accepted theory of cross-culture leadership (Punnett & Shenkar, 2004). Global leaders must carefully use the available leadership theories or models because what is applicable and successful in one country may not necessarily deliver the same results in another country. It is important to note that most available theories or models of leadership were developed in the West and that may unwittingly insert Western bias into findings and conclusions (Lussier, 2005). Since different countries have different perceptions about leadership, one key of being successful in global leadership practice is to study and get to know the employees, organizations and global trends.The third one of the key leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, create a vision and be able to sell it. A vision must be realistic, match with environmental challenges in the future and value the organization, stakeholder, and customers as a whole. To create a vision and bring the organization to the next level, global leaders must have the abilities to recognize and connect global trends with organizational development plans (Lussier, 2005). Leaders must be able to create a vision for how to effect positive changes that fit organizational goals and global trends. Most importantly, leaders need to be able to sell their vision to employees by effectively communicating with employees, getting employees’ buy-in, and influencing employees to work toward the vision (Cranford & Glover, 2007).Next the key leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, develop self-awareness. For example, Identify the self-strengths and weakness. Global leaders need to conduct a self-awareness test or assessment to identify self-strengths and -weaknesses (Dubrin, 2004). It is important for the leaders to understand their individual reactions to situations and approaches to decision-making. Knowing self-limitations for example, strengths and weaknesses and behavioral patterns can help the leaders perform more effectively in cross-cultural settings (Frost & Walker, 2007). Being able to overcome stereotypes and capitalize on one’s advantages are keys to global leadership practice. To further benefit from identifying self-limitations, leaders may use results to structure a unique and personalized leadership style. For example, female leaders might use empathy and collaboration as their leadership traits since they tend to work best in a cooperative relationship that brings great voices into the workplace and consequently increases the team work quality and performance outcomeFor the nest example is, close the cultural gap by looking at similarities. Focusing on differences between oneself and others is not an absolute means to solve interpersonal problems. Kowske and Anthony (2007) identified that leadership competence is conceptualized similarly when individuals have similar geographical regional backgrounds for example, Anglo and Latin American. Looking at similarities rather than differences in people can be a good approach in assisting global leaders to communicate and lead more effectively (Cranford & Glover, 2007). Leaders can thus build relationships and close the cultural gap within a group.For the last example is, appreciate individual differences. Global leaders face a tremendously complex, multicultural world which requires appreciation of individual uniqueness (Holt & Seki, 2012). Each individual has particular behaviors that are shaped by cultural background, life experiences, and values. To better understand cross-cultural issues, international leaders should learn each employee’s demographics and appreciate the diversely valuable inputs they bring into the workplace (Parvis, 2003).The next key leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, gain and offer supports. For example, gain ongoing support from all levels of the organization. It is often an issue of gaining ongoing support from subordinates and superiors when the global leaders are enthusiastic to form or interlock changes for organizational development. Leaders must develop a support system a network tactic for developing teamwork and leadership successions (Lussier, 2005). Being more visible and accessible to employees can enhance the manager-employee relationship, create a positive organizational climate, and increase overall productivity.The nest example is, provide supports to people and organizations. Global leaders should also learn to offer their support to employees especially during the period of organizational change. Collaboration and exchange of information and creative ideas are encouraged to promote an innovative, open and supportive working environment that is necessary for leadership effectiveness (Dubrin, 2004; Roy, 2012).The next one of the key leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, look at a Bigger Picture. An outstanding cross-cultural leader thinks globally and leads locally (Gutierrez, Spencer & Zhu, 2012). Global leaders should not look easily the world market and satisfy what had already been done. It’s necessary for the leaders to step back and look at a bigger picture to find out what is currently going on and anticipate future challenges. They must look at the challenges as a lifelong endeavor and an opportunity for organizational and individual growth. From a global perspective to evaluate and predict future challenges, leaders need to look beyond the current situation and think outside of the box by continuous learning and self-development to overcome traditional thinking, using multiple senses when seeking solutions, and staying alert to opportunities (Dubrin, 2004).The next skill that leader need to have is, take social responsibility seriously. in this era, leadership is expected to promote corporate social responsibility, an important concept in dealing with stakeholders (Smith, 2011; Strand, 2011). Organizations are expected to provide their social concerns of the community and social responsible to various stakeholder groups by consumers (Smith, 2011). Consequently, global leaders have their social responsibilities to create a pleasant workplace which directly affects human well-being. To fulfill their social responsibilities, suggested the following four actions. Creating a comfortable and pleasant workplace, helping others to preserve the environment such as managing toxic waste, being involved in political welfare such as advocating against unjust child labor, and engaging in philanthropy such as donating money to charity and various causes. Social responsibility is not a slogan. It has to be put into actions.More over leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, build effective communication skills. For example, develop verbal communication skills. Global leaders also need cross-cultural negotiation skills to maintain international competitiveness (Okoro, 2012). They need to be able to ask questions and exchange messages effectively because diverse personalities and characteristics can easily cause misunderstanding and misinterpretations. Words and tone must be used carefully in order to deliver the message accurately while maintaining a good relationship. Thus, global leaders are recommended to receive training in interpersonal relationship and group communication competence (Okoro, 2012).For the second example is, develop a nonverbal communication skills. Actions speak louder than words. The global managers must be cognizant of their nonverbal language and be aware of acceptable behaviors, as well as restrict behaviors, in different cultures. For example, when a Japanese businessperson gives a gift, it normally means a gift to welcome or for appreciation rather than a bribe; similarly, returning a gift is considered polite (Lussier, 2005). In some cultures, such as Brazil, kisses and hugs are the norm of greeting while other countries, such as China, nodding heads and smiling or shaking hands are used for greeting. Because of cultural differences, people have various perceptions of personal space, touching, eye contact, etc. Global leaders need to fully understand what these nonverbal behaviors are and the messages they represent.the last example is, view each communication as an opportunity to sell a vision and develop a relationship. Both verbal and nonverbal communication skills are applied in leadership practices. Note that open and honest communications can build a solid connection between the leader and followers, as well as develop respect and trust in the leadership (Mendez-Russell, 2001). Effective communications can construct the leader’s credibility and increase employees’ commitment and loyalty to the leader and the organization (Choan, 2003). Therefore, every communication opportunity should be treated as an opportunity to sell the leader’s vision and to enhance relationship with employees.the next key leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, increase self-assurance. A leader need to understand competitors. A true leader must cultivate his or her capability and self-assurance to assist employees build confidence and enthusiasm (Weiss, 2004). To increase leaders’ self-assurance, one can begin with understanding the competitors. Studying competitors’ culture, business strategy, organization performance, etc. can enhance leaders’ competitiveness in the global market and increase organizational outcomes. It is also important for leaders to extend the knowledge of international business and strengthen technical skills in management and leadership practice.The next example is, stay one step ahead of the game and be enthusiastic to challenges. Effective global leaders need to be results-oriented, achievement driven and forward thinking (Gutierrez, Spencer, & Zhu, 2012). They must have the ability to quickly respond to problems and make proper decisions from divergent aspects (Rausch, Halfhill, Sherman & Washbush, 2001). They also need to be able to identify opportunities swiftly and be capable of turning challenges into opportunities. Most importantly, global leadership is about initiative, trustworthiness, integrity, and enthusiasm of performance (Flaum, 2002).The next key leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, develop a Global mindset. It is critical for global leaders to enrich his or her cultural intelligence (Lovvorn & Chen, 2011). By doing so, their international experience can be transformed into a global mindset (Lovvorn & Chen, 2011). A global mindset is one special trait of international leadership which is associated with trust, manager-employee relationship, and organizational commitment (Story & Barbuto, 2011). The development of a global mindset also involves cultural intelligence and global business orientation (Story & Barbuto, 2011). Effective global leaders tend to have mental models that offer valid ways of viewing and handling the complex issues in leadership practice (Johnson, 2008). Leaders need to be open-minded, think globally and act swiftly to maintain their competitiveness in multicultural organizations and global markets. Additionally, leaders could also engage transformative learning in leadership development that focuses on not only critically reflecting on individual behaviors and assumptions but also effectively creating means of understanding and acting upon the environment (Johnson, 2008).Last but not least, the key leadership skills that global leaders need to have is, to Create Appropriate Motivational Techniques. Effective global leaders need to be able to establish trust, motivate team members, and foster a team spirit (Roy, 2012). Creating appropriate motivational techniques for example, reward and recognition can stimulate employees’ performance and increase their feelings of appreciation and belonging (Swanson & Holton, 2009). To use reward as a motivational technique, the reward must be fair, announced, and changed periodically to ensure employees will not lose interest in striving for a reward (Ventrice, 2003). Moreover, global leaders can also motivate employees by promoting multiple cultural backgrounds and values (Frost & Walker, 2007). In other words, showing empathy for others and giving appreciation of different values, as well as beliefs and experiences, can motivate employees and retain the best employees. In conclusion, when people lack intercultural skills. Miscommunication can occur, damaging business relationships, deadlines can be missed, project may fail and the successful multicultural workplace. With the increase in and growth of multicultural workplaces, there are bound to be a surge of challenges ranging from lack of effective government policies and regulations, to reluctance of organization in making needed and necessary changes, not leaving out employees been involved in continuing education participation. The success of a multicultural workplace is a responsibility for governments, organization and employees alike
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