Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Global Leadership Competencies

Friday, May 25, 2007

Global Leadership Competencies

In researching on the internet to find a suitable set of competencies for one of my speaking engagements, I came across the article "Internationalising corporate leadership competencies through 'behavioural diversity'".

Leadership competencies are generally defined as the observable behaviors that support excellence in leadership. In this article, Stephen Martin notes that many of the existing competency models, while giving a nod to cultural sensitivity, define successful behaviors from the perspective of the dominant culture. As an example, the Career Architect competencies from Lominger Limited defines the competency "Standing Alone" including as an example of skilled behavior, "willing to be the only champion for an idea or position".

In a culture where collectivism is valued over individualism, Standing Alone would not be valued. There may be a high need for people to champion an idea or position, but it needs to be done by involving others, rather than by standing alone. In looking at the competency model Global Leader of the Future Inventory written by Marshall Goldsmith, the competencies are defined more in terms of the outcomes, rather than the specific actions. For example, Standing Alone are captured in "courageously stands up for what he/she believes in". In the US that might mean standing alone; in Asia, it might mean building a collective understanding.

As competency models are developed and propagated within a company, consideration should be given as to whether they provide flexibility and adaptability to the country cultures or whether there is only one way to get the work done.

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