Today’s global environment poses great challenges for leaders around the world. With the 2008 recession, the business environment has entered a new phase of ‘guarded globalization’, which is very cautious of the emerging companies, forced to move slower and be much more selective with their strategy (Bremmer 2014, para. 3). Modern global leaders already possess the skills of team management or internal stakeholders’ management; therefore, challenges in global leadership are associated with external skills and competencies, namely cultural intelligence and virtual management.
Cultural intelligence is a core leadership competency that challenges leaders regularly. Like different countries, companies have specific cultures too, so a global leader working with companies worldwide should possess competencies of adaptation and respect to other corporate cultures (Earley & Mosakowski 2016, p. 1). Cultural intelligence is also greatly associated with emotional intelligence, which helps leaders get an understanding of why people are different or why a person may act a certain way. A leader with a high level of cultural intelligence can distinguish between specific group characteristics or idiosyncratic peculiarities of one person.
As to addressing the challenge of cultural intelligence, a global leader should employ several strategies for learning more about cultural beliefs or taboos. On the other hand, foreigners can sometimes be unwelcoming to explaining others their beliefs and customs (Earley & Mosakowski 2016, p. 2). Apart from factual knowledge, showing respect and understanding through non-verbal communication can also be beneficial for developing cultural intelligence. Lastly, the successful development of cultural intelligence implies overcoming cultural boundaries and misconceptions, which limit intercultural communication.
Managing virtually is another global leadership competence that can bring a company to a new level of success. Leaders that think outside the box and can manage employees they cannot see are exceptional (Wyman 2007, p. 2). Because the global expansion of businesses implies different teams working in different locations, leaders become constantly challenged by managing their employees. Virtual management ties in with the concept of corporate sustainability, which directly impacts corporate operations and the capacity of business to effectively respond to various challenges (Hadders & Miedema 2009, p. 46).
Successful strategies for developing virtual management skills span across a range of practices. For example, leaders should always be available to their team, so there is no sense of distance or isolation. Encouraging informal communication in a corporate environment is another practice regularly implemented by successful global leaders. The rotation has also proven to be an effective strategy since employees have an opportunity to develop cultural competence by working in different locations (Reiche 2013, para. 6).
To conclude, challenges global leaders face are associated with developing high levels of cultural intelligence as well as the ability to manage employees virtually because the global business environment has no limits. By learning more about cultural beliefs, traditions, and taboos, an effective global leader will expand his or her reach and facilitate close cooperation with international stakeholders.
Virtual management is a challenge that calls for exceptional time and team management skills on the part of the global leader. Boundary-less business management requires leaders to be available, provide employees with rotation opportunities, and encourage informal communication. Thus, the modern globalized environment relies on cultural competence and team management skills, which leaders should develop and practice regularly.
Bremmer, I 2014, The new rules of globalization.
Earley, C & Mosakowski, E 2016, Cultural intelligence.
Hadders, H & Miedema, J 2009, Leader fairness, social contract and corporate sustainability performance.
Reiche, S 2013, Managing virtual teams: ten tips.
Wyman, O 2007, What the future demands: the growing challenge of global leadership development.