More than ever our world is connected. Employees around the globe interact with each other quickly and easily on a daily basis. While organizations may approach new workforce challenges differently, good leadership qualities still resonate across all borders.
In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Leadership, James MacGregor Burns wrote that “Leadership is relational, collective and purposeful.” His universal principles, matching manager goals with employees’ needs and goals, apply in any company or country and rely upon human relationships, whether in person or around the world.
Entelechy has conducted leadership training in more than 30 countries and our team has seen remarkable global commonalities. We recently discussed the concept of universal leadership with our affiliates in China and India, and discovered amazing similarities in terms of needs and wants of leaders and their teams.
Jeremy Zhuli, CEO of First Priority Consulting, Entelechy’s China affiliate, finds executives in China, like their U.S. counterparts, look for strong performance factors, team management ability, and quality talent development from their leaders.
Was there any one skill most Chinese leaders need? Zhuli has seen teams perhaps quicker to take action and more efficient in performance, but lacking a long-term strategy. He believes team leaders there would benefit from an emphasis on a shared, bigger vision providing greater consensus building. Because China has improved its manufacturing capabilities, the country is now in a phase where “tapping people’s potential is more and more crucial for better performance,” said Zhuli.
Michael Mitra, MD and Managing Partner of STEP Consulting, Entelechy’s India affiliate, concurred regarding the people factor. His top three leadership needs are very similar to Zhuli’s — cross-cultural awareness, change management, and performance management — and all revolve around human understanding and communication.
An Entelechy international client, Ann Matteson, Senior Director, Talent Management and Leadership Development at Thermo Fisher Scientific, a world leader in scientific products and technologies with 50,000 employees in 50 countries, has seen the Unleash Your Leadership Potential program work to improve performance for her varied global teams.
“Effective leaders need to be able to ruthlessly prioritize and demonstrate strong financial and business acumen,” said Matteson. Wherever they are located, she asserts their leaders must be able to develop the talent and have a growth mindset. Underlying all these needs is the ability to communicate. She also has found “emerging markets in particular may need greater focus on how to most effectively develop talent.”
Recognizing this demand, Entelechy’s customized program for Thermo Fisher not only provided modern development concepts to reach corporate goals, but also included specific, culturally relevant examples and even sample language that managers can use on the job to improve the communication skill level.
People are people. Even if the basics of human and organizational needs remain the same, how we learn varies person to person and even, or especially, culture to culture. Matteson reports that self-directed learning is not yet a universally accepted style of education for many employees, and certain cultures prefer a traditional classroom instead. However, she has seen employees in larger metropolitan areas, like Shanghai, engage enthusiastically in mobile learning with self-service learning portals and online resources accessible at their convenience on mobile devices.
Matteson believes that the most important aspect of any leadership development program is continuing to check-in on its relevance, and to revamp features and methodology whenever needed. Learning new habits and techniques requires follow-up and on-the-job reinforcement efforts to get real life experiences to deepen the knowledge.
At Entelechy, we couldn’t agree more. Our Unleash Your Leadership Potential program was specifically designed to help make leadership training finally stick at your organization. Learn more about our award-winning program by clicking the button below.
Values, motivations, wants, needs — these human elements are timeless; but how to achieve an organization’s goals in a modern global market demands customization, comprehensive understanding, and sensitivity to cultural and traditional influences as well as dynamic workforce demographics. We may need to meticulously define tactics on a cultural and team-by-team basis, but in the end the overarching leadership qualities of purpose, team growth, and communication remain universally human.