What is Global Leadership and where are the leaders?

In a world that have seen in the last years wide and big changes, one of the main question, specially when crisis emerge is, who do we look for to guide us?

People search and ask the leader what to do. 

Isn’t that the role of the leader? To be the first one, to guide, to lead, to bring on his or her journey followers to achieve an objective?

What if the objective wants to be achieved on a global scale? How to deal with cultural, economical and social differences? 

Keep reading to know more about global leadership.

What is Global Leadership and where are the leaders
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Table of Contents

What is Global Leadership?

First here is the definition of leadership.

Rost (1991) describes leadership as “an influence relationship among leaders and collaborators who intend significant changes that reflect their mutual purposes”, while Kouzes and Posner (1991) believe it is “the art of mobilising others to want to struggle for shared aspirations”. Common themes of influence, change and leader-follower collaboration emerge from these and other definitions. Senge et al. (1999), for example, describes leadership as “the capacity of a human community to share its future, and specifically to sustain the significant processes of change required to do so”. (University of Cambridge)

And to define what is Global Leadership here are two definitions.

Global leadership is defined as a leader who operates on a global stage with a open mindset in a complex and diverse environment. (Hassanzadeh)

Global leadership has been defined as ―being capable of operating effectively in a global environment while being respectful of cultural diversity. (Story)

Global leadership can be described as a person’s capability for the mobilization of a human community at a global stage to intend significant changes towards a shared future. 

Certainly, there has to be a common value to set all people walk straight forward within the same path. And as stated in the definitions, “to want to struggle for shared aspirations.” Certainly, the word struggle is not as fancy and delightful as it might sound, but as we all have heard or read from history, stories, movies and mythology, the leader and followers came across obstacles to arrive to a promised land or reach an objective.

And so to be, there has to be a worldwide or intercontinental objective to mobilize communities across the globe.

Political Speech
Businesswoman leader in modern office with businesspeople workin

Global Leadership and Cultural Differences

Cultures define our way of thinking and how we make decisions. There are no right or wrong answers in the way of living, but across cultures there are a set of minimum behavioral norms, regardless of a culture. 

If we search for the perfect culture, so to say, it would never be found, cultures are already perfect the way they are. 

German culture has been known to be more of a stick to the rules culture. Mexican culture and also Latin American cultures are known to be more relaxed and enjoy the party culture. Korea and Asian countries have high respect for their authority. South African culture has come from a mix between the native Africans and the English colonizers, which created an open and friendly culture. 

And among the different leaders each culture can have, there will be different ideas of how to solve problems and how to guide people, and in these clashes of ideas is when conflict and chaos arises. How do we bring back order between cultures?

What might be good for one culture, might be bad for the other one. And this just can bring an eternal cycle of polarities. Here is where a global leader can cross by and be the balance between both sides.

That is why a global leader can have different attributes and characteristics such as empathy, active listening, critical thinking and open mindset. This way the global leader can “be in the shoes” of the different cultures and understand better.

Development of global leaders

A global leader can have an impact in the lives of people from all around the world, but what makes a global leader that, a global leader.

Here are a set of general overview points of what is required for a global leader. 

In fact, leadership, especially leadership in a global setting, is not simply a specialized role but rather a social influence process, for example influencing others to adopt a shared vision. Second, we would like to particularly emphasize the importance of a shared vision, as we see it being critical to leadership. Naturally, leaders should have goals, and strive for competitive advantage and positive change; however, only a shared vision captures the level of superordinate goal that leadership processes and leaders should try to achieve. Third and finally, global leaders need to proactively develop their follower and contribute to collective growth. (UTC)

As years pass by, there is a normal generational renewal that also brings change into the world. But is there a real surge of global leaders for the future that can actually replace those who are already stepping aside? 

Hence the importance of the development of persons who are able to cope with global issues and can easily understand how their individual actions have as well an impact in their communities, regions, nations and outside their borders. 

Future global leaders must step aside from behaving and acting by just relying on the ego and must incorporate a more conscious and aware self being. By acknowledging themselves, they can give further steps on the development of their followers.

Team leader organizing work in an office

Technology and Global Leadership

Within the worldwide scope of technology and internet, it is relatively easy to build up global communities around different types of personalities. But the question will arise, if it is really effective the message given from a leader through technology to mobilize their followers.

Technology communication, especially Social Media, can be a two sided sword. While there are persons who are proactively and dynamically cultivating their tribes to build and  nurture them, on the other side, there are people taking advantage of, as it is sometimes called, black hat techniques that are merely mixing up the normal and digital realities with scamming practices. 

A current phenomenon is happening. It is easy to observe in politics how social media accounts are being used and getting inflated the “vanity numbers” to influence on people’s perception and opinions. 

Further discussion can be done, but certainly a global leader has to be aware of the notion of ethics in technology. Where it should be used to expand the reach of their message, and not by manipulating the illusional digital mobilization. 

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