Written by Cari Guittard, Professor of Global Leadership, for The Huffington Post.
Over the past several years, many American leaders in both the public and private sector have reinforced a stereotype that Americans harbor an uninformed global view. This is not to say that leaders across the globe are any better. Every region has its fair share of ‘global leaders’ and ‘global experts’ who do little to foster global understanding. The global community can and should do better. Doing so means aggressively rethinking and re-tooling how public, private, and social sector leaders prepare for global leadership roles. The world needs a new breed of global leader, now.
“How do you define global leadership?”
In July 2013, I taught a class on women’s leadership at the Hult International Business School in Dubai, UAE. I ended class with this question which not surprisingly received strong and deeply varied responses in a room of over 40 nationalities from around the globe. That evening after class, several students approached me with their thoughts and passionate viewpoints on the subject. I continued to receive comments over the remainder of the course and some even emailed me after the class with additional thoughts.
I always enjoy throwing questions like this out to a Hult graduate class, which naturally attracts students who are globally minded. Though their definitions varied, my students agreed on one thing: The current models of global leadership, as evidence by what they were reading and absorbing from global news outlets, was in dire need of a complete overhaul. When I pressed for specifics on where global leadership could improve, four key categories emerged:
Where Many Global Leaders Fall Short
Weak Global Skillsets: Lack effective communication skills, mismanage crisis and risk, and fail to effectively collaborate across sectors
Too Little On-the-Ground Experience: Deficiency in global knowledge and geopolitical context, compromising effective cross-cultural collaboration
Misunderstand Global Citizenship & Stewardship: Fail to see corporations and individuals as global citizens and do not understand the responsibility such a perspective imparts
Obstinate Leadership: Lead with ego, fear, and intimidation