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How Can You Be an Effective Leader in a Global Culture?
Effective global leaders are culturally sensitive, humble, genuinely curious, and self-aware. They understand the pitfalls of political correctness and know how to avoid them through cultural competence. Leadership coaching can help leaders fine-tune and develop their competencies to meet the requirements of a global business environment.
Global leadership has emerged as a consequence of the global reach of online companies and the renewed focus on tapping diversity and inclusion as sources of positive change.
A global leader is flexible and capable of handling diverse and culturally divergent perspectives. Global leaders understand how leadership coaching can help them and their reports manage the differences in problem-solving approaches among different cultures. Inclusive and diversity-sensitive leaders overcome the hurdles of political correctness to build meaningful relationships over cultural and geographical divides.
Diversity is a valuable resource requiring skilled management.
The Role of Leadership Coaching in Global Leadership
We all carry our embedded assumptions, belief systems, and the biased perceptions they create. As leaders, we transfer these biases to our organizations.
Leadership coaching is the key to challenging and changing biases. Skilled coaches can help you fine-tune your global leadership skills, focusing your attention on what matters. Leadership and business coaching can help leaders to:
- Redefine the meaning of success regarding the outcomes of meetings
- Develop the skills to understand the criteria by which others define success
- Develop an understanding of the expectations and preferences of other meeting participants
- Empower culturally diverse teams
- Create a culture of psychological safety and support for their teams
- Understand the cultural makeup of their organizations and develop approaches for the optimal management of cultural differences.
Executive Coaching Facilitates Cultural Competence over Political Correctness
In the context of intelligent leadership, political correctness is a double-edged liability. Its rigid rules stifle genuine interaction, reinforce biases and assumptions, and seek to avoid conflict at all costs instead of building rapport. Political correctness is a simplified, reactive, and potentially toxic approach to managing cultural diversity.
By contrast, genuine cultural competence approaches diversity management proactively in alignment with the principles of intelligent leadership. Instead of observing inflexible rules, it seeks to build meaningful relationships through genuine engagement, education, and rapport.
Leadership Competencies Global Leaders Need
The leadership competencies necessary for being an effective global leader are entirely compatible with the inner and outer-core leadership competencies I have defined and mapped in my executive coaching books and blog posts. A leader’s self-concept and elements of character act as the sources of all the skills that make a global leader great.
Curiosity and Genuine Humility
Kids learn fast because they are curious about the world around them. Curiosity is the mother of knowledge. Once we lose our curiosity, we can’t keep up with the world. We fall behind and our skills become redundant. Global leaders cannot afford to fall out of the loop.
Curiosity goes hand-in-hand with the kind of humility that allows us to admit we don’t know enough. Recognizing the need to learn constantly is impossible without humility.
Humility also allows us to keep our minds open towards other cultures. It takes humility to believe that other cultures may have solved some of life’s problems differently and better than we did.
Self-awareness is a cornerstone of intelligent leadership. It is the source of emotional intelligence, and it plays a part in most of the inner and outer-core leadership competencies.
The path to intelligent leadership begins with self-awareness.
Self-awareness allows leaders to understand their beliefs, values, and emotions. Self-aware and emotionally intelligent people also understand the fundamental beliefs of others and can adapt to them.
Sensitivity to Diversity
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence allow leaders to understand the customs and beliefs of others. Sensitivity to diversity allows these leaders to see these beliefs through the prism of a different culture.
Cultural sensitivity entails experience, curiosity, and strong knowledge. It also requires enough humility to realize that one’s culture and background are not superior to the cultures and life experiences of others.
Patience and Effective Communication
Global leaders focus on long-term outcomes. Inclusivity and diversity offer organizations long-term edges, and long-term outcomes require patience.
Effective communication defeats misunderstandings that may come from cultural differences. A skilled global leader can communicate precise and compelling thoughts to overcome language and culture barriers.
Effective global leaders are curious, proactive in engaging their peers and reports, and culturally competent. They are open-minded and focused on long-term outcomes like meaningful, lasting relationships.