As business becomes increasingly more global, international teams are becoming commonplace. With this comes the need for strong global leaders, who have a deep understanding of the world around them. The qualities of a successful global leader can vary from team to team, but the following characteristics will ensure that an international team will have the necessary direction to reach success.
Understand the Culture
It is imperative that global leaders have a strong grasp on the different cultures of the world, especially, of course, the ones that directly affect their work. As a leader, be prepared to have at least a basic understanding of social norms, business best practices, and what to do and not do in certain situations. Maybe your team is made up of employees from around the globe or perhaps your company operates in multiple nations – no matter the situation, you will need to be able to think quickly and effectively when dealt with a miscommunication or question about how to approach a specific situation or problem. Having the cognitive ability and head space to understand how different people may conduct business will be an invaluable resource to you and your team.
Being flexible is a good quality to have, no matter what you do. However, when working globally it becomes more than just helpful, it becomes necessary. Working across different countries means working across different time zones. Being able to adjust schedules and recover from a conflict is an important skill to have. Keeping your cool and learning how to be resilient will save you and your team from more troubles down the road.
Have a Willingness to Learn
As the business environment remains ever changing, any leader will need to have a positive attitude towards learning. Times will continue to change, along with business practices and technology. As a leader, try to adapt to new aspects of the job gracefully. Keeping a team cohesive and efficient will require that leaders and management always be on the lookout for ways to make work easier.
Curiosity might be one of the best tools to have in your arsenal as a global leader. It shows a team that you aren’t stuck in your ways and aren’t afraid to try new ideas or unique ways of doing things. Once a team becomes stagnant, expect performance to do the same. Keep up to date on worldwide business trends. Seeing something that works in another country may inspire you to do something similar. Keep options open and do not just settle for what you are used to.
Know How to Communicate
This one is a given. Members of any team, global or not, need to be capable of communicating. Without honest and open conversation, a team is set up for failure almost immediately. It can build strong relationships, opening a business environment for trust and respect. It can facilitate growth and allow a team and company to reach success. Providing feedback, asking questions, ensuring that everyone is on the same page allows room for innovation, efficiency, and happy team members. From a global perspective, intercultural communication is even more important. It is vital that members across the world know where they stand, what their responsibilities are, and where the team as a whole is. Distance does not have to be an obstacle. Ensure transparency and communication are top priorities and the rest of the work will be made much easier.
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