Being a Global Leader

Frank Wiengarten - ESADE - MSc in Global Strategic Management

Author: Frank Wiengarten, Academic Director of Master of Science in Global Strategic Management

In nowadays global economy companies seek to purchase and sell products and services all over the globe, which ultimately results in a dispersed supply chain network. Increased competitive pressure and opening up economies have enabled companies to seek comparative and competitive advantage.

Companies have been continuously outsourced multiple functions and activities that leads, from a vertical perspective to a long and complex supply chain. To manage such a network companies need to collaborate and integrate processes to share information and to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness. 

Globalization and the resulting geographic dispersion of the supply chain has thus put increased pressures and demands to leaders to strategically manage these arising global situations that present opportunities but at the same are also challenges. In the same way that supply chains got globalized employees need to jump on that bandwagon and also need to become global to be efficient and effective managers. Becoming a manager and ultimately a leader demands a global perspective to succeed in such an environment.

Managers need to manage and lead multiple stakeholders that come from a diverse culturally diverse cultural background having different interpretations and reactions. It is important to understand these regional and cultural differences in order to be able to lead a global workforce. Furthermore, although multiple major management practices have been globally adopted regional differences still exist and to be successful a global leader need to be aware of these small but important differences. Practices that might have been developed and successfully practiced in the Western business environment might need to be adapt, based on differences in contextual factors, to be effective, for example in an Asian context. Global leaders are needed to amend these practices, recognize these nuances and manage companies with a truly dispersed set-up.

Thus a global leader is someone who is able to lead a global team through understanding national and cultural differences and finding opportunities that these differences provide in terms of diversity and unifications. I believe that someone can only become a global leader when exposed to a global environment. These new types of managers really and truly need to experience the cultural differences that still exist in our global world.  From my perspective to develop new global leaders means exposing people to situations that are outside their comfort zone and require leadership skills. Furthermore, people also need to be exposed to leaders. A global leader is required to know all the tools and practices that are needed to lead people through these exciting times and opportunities.

You can read the spanish version at Ideamericas

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