I Was Made A Global Leader, What Now?
Tuesday, 9 a.m., your boss asks you to come into his office. He smiles at you and says: “Congratulations! You are our new Global Head of Purchasing”. Don’t panic. If you think your new position as a global leader sounds very fancy, but wonder if you are at all prepared to do a great job – Bravo! You are starting pretty well!
The world is globalized now, and this affects business on a daily basis. At least, that is what everybody says. But were you able to really understand the impact of globalization on your job before? And what about now that you are a new global leader? After years as a leader of multicultural teams around the world, not only did I develop a “no panic” mode, but I also have demystified global job roles. I have learned some crucial lessons. So please allow me to tell you a few things about it.
3 Top Tips For Being A Great Global Leader
First of all, no one has the same understanding! Things can seem obvious, but only when you are among people who share the same values and habits. But if you are working with somebody, who needs a minimum of seven days planning before starting to do something, you will quickly realize that your ability to improvise is not universal. Being aware of the fact that no one has the exact same understanding as you is the first step to becoming a great global leader.
Secondly, each nationality has a certain tendency how to run jobs. And you should respect that! Americans work “by the book”, the French are very autonomous and the Germans are very logical. Understanding that each nation, including your own nation, has a different approach is crucial to handle cultural differences in your new global team.
Finally, just as you, everyone else on your global team is in panic right now! Everyone is apprehensive about the change in leadership.
Here Are 2 Strategies That Will Help You Handle The New Scenario
1) Promote listening, but listening which leads to comprehension. Ask your team members to listen to one another, to note where there are issues right now and potential future problems. Pay attention to what may be a consequence of a nation’s typical work habits or of differences in personality, and remember: there’s always more than one view, which offers you many new opportunities of solving problems and achieving results.
2) Encourage the creation of new structures. Everyone is already aware of best practices. Now it’s time to establish new ones more suitable for your global team! Letting everyone know that they are an essential part of this process will motivate.
Before ending this short blog post about being a great global leader, I’d like to offer a fast and straightforward Dos and Don’ts list. This will not solve any problem you may encounter but it will help you open doors and minds when starting your journey to great global leadership.
Dos And Don’ts For New Global Leaders:
- Talk openly about cultural differences. Tell about your habits at work, e.g. that you touch people when you talk or that you tend to believe to be the best soccer/football coach in the world. Let your team feel comfortable talking about themselves. This will open up communication and build confidence within the team.
- Invite each team member to tell about their skills and responsibilities so far. Then make the team pick who will be in charge of what. This will increase motivation!
- Show that you can laugh about yourself! Make a continuous analysis of your actions’ impacts. When you realize that you failed, say sorry to your team and laugh about your mistakes! This will show your team that they can make mistakes, too, without feeling bad about it or being fearful that they might be doing something “strange” in a multicultural environment.
- Don’t do job interviews! Don’t ask how people react to this or that situation. Instead, show that everyone is in the same team and ask for everyone’s points of view. Ask about worldviews! Peolple will feel important, which increases trust and confidence.
- Never start anything with a ready-made template. They are the worst enemy of intercultural relations. Start with a clear goal instead and create an “intercultural template” together!
- Never criticize! As soon as you realize that a team member is diminishing the team performance, talk to them privately. Don’t ask questions about their attitude; just ask for opinions on improving team performance.