November 13th, 2012


New Research Reveals Six Competencies Needed for Global Leadership Success

Author: Owen Sullivan, CEO, Right Management, President, Specialty Brands ManpowerGroup

If you work in a global company, you know that leading across cultures requires operating amid ambiguity and complexity, which often calls for a different set of behaviors and competencies.  As companies look to promote leaders who have been successful in domestic roles into international assignments, those same competencies that made them successful may no longer apply. So how do companies assess their talent prior to placing someone in a global role? To learn more, Right Management partnered with Tucker International to study nearly 2,000 global leaders from 13 countries.

 

Using talent assessments, our research identified six intercultural competencies essential for leading multinational organizations:

 

  1. Adapting Socially – To socialize comfortably with new people in unfamiliar social situations and to demonstrate genuine interest in other people. 
  2. Demonstrating Creativity – To enjoy new challenges, strive for innovative solutions to social and situational issues and to learn from a variety of sources.
  3. Even Disposition – To remain calm, not being critical of oneself and learn from mistakes.
  4. Respecting Beliefs – Demonstrate respect for the political and spiritual beliefs of people in other cultures.
  5. Instilling Trust – To build and maintain trusting relationships.
  6. Navigating Ambiguity – To see through vagueness and uncertainty, not become frustrated, and figure out how things are done in other cultures.

 

Identifying the key competencies that assure successful outcomes and developing those thoroughly allow scarce leadership development dollars to be invested precisely. In this way organizations may get the greatest potential return on their global leaders.

 

What this research found is that successful global leaders enjoy new challenges, strive for innovative solutions to social and situational issues and learn from a variety of sources. They are able to build and maintain trusting relationships and socialize comfortably with new people in unfamiliar social situations. Such leaders are able to see through vagueness and uncertainty, not become frustrated, and figure out how things are done in other cultures while also remaining calm, not critical of oneself, and learning from mistakes. They can also demonstrate respect for the political and spiritual beliefs of people of other cultures.

 

The development of leaders is the most strategic effort companies can invest in to create competitive advantage. In what we now regard as the Human Age, employers may no longer rely on outdated work models, talent sources, people practices and leadership techniques to achieve success. The key to productivity is building a talent strategy that takes advantage of the best available innovations, information and technology. As a leader, I’d encourage you to look at your people as your most valuable asset, and when properly optimized, these assets will deliver real results.


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