Leadership In A Global World
Leading a team with people living all over the world can be intimidating, especially as a young manager. There are many things to consider, like time zones, cultural differences, and language barriers. According to a recent study, the number of people who will be working in a global environment will reach 3.5 billion by 2030.
Learning how to work cross-culturally and lead a global team is critical for the future of work.
Soulcast Media recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE where Patrick Mullane, the Executive Director of Harvard Business School Online and Executive Education joined Jessica Chen during a chat about leadership. Patrick talked about his experience leading a team of people across different industries. He said, “as a leader, if you get the people right, everything else is easy.” For many of us, no matter where our team lives, understanding what motivates people and how they think will help us lead with tact.
They shared tips and personal stories about leadership in a global world, including leadership skills, storytelling abilities, and developing soft skills.
1. Leadership Skills
Leadership is about people. It’s understanding human nature and developing social and self awareness. It’s being mindful of leading with others in mind first. In fact, people at any level can develop leadership skills without needing to be a manager at all. Here are some themes to consider:
- Human Behavior – As a leader, the more we can understand human behavior, the easier it will be for us to lead a team. For example, there are some universal principles, including people wanting to always feel appreciated, always wanting to be seen and heard, and acknowledging their work. If we can keep these things in mind, communicating with them will be much more impactful.
- Self-Leadership – A great leader sets a great example for their team. Self-leadership means we do our best even when no one is looking. For example, do we advocate for others even when they’re not in the room? Do we ask for help and not view it as a sign of being weak?
- Learning – If we want to develop our global leadership skills, finding new educational opportunities will help us expand our perspective and connections. For example, during the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Patrick talked about how he met many interesting people from different cultures when he decided to get his MBA. Not only did he learn through his classes, but he also expanded his thinking because he was constantly learning from new people. Leaders always learn.
Even if we aren’t in a leadership position, we can all develop a leadership mindset to become stronger leaders in the workplace.
Incorporating stories into our communications is how we can engage a team who is spread across globally. That’s because even though we may be on different continents, as humans, we understand the shared feelings of happiness, frustration, excitement and disappointment. As leaders, if we can express our ideas with a compelling story, we are unlocking a key leadership communication strategy that helps motivates and engages. Consider the following:
- Open discussion – Stories are a great way to build dialogue within our team because people relate to the emotions often evoked in a story. For example, when we start a meeting, we can tell a story about our weekend, maybe we ate at a new restaurant, or we have a funny story about how we forgot our wallet at home and didn’t have a way to pay for our meal. Our stories will resonate because it’s opening ourselves up to sharing a bit about ourselves.
- Keeps people engaged – Stories keep people engaged, especially if our work is numbers drive. For example, inundating our team with facts and data can dilute a message. However, if we give numbers meaning, including putting a face or story behind them, our explanation becomes a lot more powerful. When we incorporate stories with data, our audience becomes more engaged.
- Get an idea across – The power of stories is it can drive our point home. Stories can motivate. For example, we can use stories to remind our team where the company is heading and the impact they are making. Incorporating a storytelling structure is also helpful, including talking about the beginning which is where the team is today, the middle is what we will be doing tomorrow, and the end is where the team will be going.
Stories are universal. Using stories can help us relate to anyone, regardless of their country or culture.
3. Soft Skills
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Patrick shared what are the top skills global companies want to see in their employees. Patrick said soft skills are some of the most important skills to succeed in a global workforce. Consider the following:
- Communications – Great leaders are excellent communicators. To lead a global team, we must learn how to be excellent communicators. For example, one way to increase our communication confidence is to take communications courses. Courses are a great way to start because we can then take what we’ve learned and apply it in real world situations.
- Emotional Intelligence – People with high emotional intelligence can gauge what other people think and feel. They are very good at handling their own emotions and have strong interpersonal skills. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Patrick said if he were deciding between two different candidates for a job, he would always pick the person with a higher EQ, even if their hard skills weren’t as proficient. EQ is knowing how to work tactfully with people.
Leadership is all about understanding people. The more we learn how to connect with others, the better leader we will be locally and globally.
Check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel if you want to see the full version of this LIVE.
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