41 Habits to Excel at Global Leadership

Skills in global leadership are paramount to success in today’s business world. Regardless of whether you’re an expatriate living abroad, or somebody who works within your home country and never travels for business, at some stage in your career you will have to deal with business matters that involve cross-cultural or global issues.

You could be in charge of a team that is multi-cultural and multi-lingual. You could be in charge of developing a new international market for your company’s products or services. You could be in charge of finding better suppliers who are located in another country. Or, you could responsible for welcoming and entertaining your colleagues from Tokyo who are visiting your office in Sydney.

There are many ways you could be involved in a cross-cultural interaction. This is true whether you’re the CEO, a senior manager, or an entry-level graduate. Skills in global leadership cannot be neglected today.

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Image courtesy of Sam Churchill from Flickr.com under Creative Commons Licence.

Global leadership is a topic I’m very passionate about. It has helped me in my career and in this article I want to share with you 41 habits I’ve identified that are important if you want to excel as a global leader.

1. Highlight cultural differences to your team.
2. Outline your expectations from your team.
3. Set guidelines for team communication.
4. Encourage each member of your team to speak up.
5. Ensure all team members get a chance to speak up.
6. Ask for differing perspectives.
7. Don’t judge opinions, ideas, or perspectives that are different.
8. Listen with an open-mind and an open heart.
9. Schedule trust-building exercises regularly with your team.
10. Don’t assume a suggestion is wrong just because it’s different.
11. Embrace complexity.
12. Practice humility.
13. Learn to get comfortable outside of your comfort zone.
14. Be quick to resolve problems.
15. Hire a professional mediator if a problem lingers on.
16. Understand time differences can add complexity to communication.
17. Adjust your level of formality depending on the culture.
18. Don’t be offended by different styles of communication.
19. Broaden your knowledge of other cultures.
20. Learn the business etiquette basics of other cultures.
21. React in a calm manner to uncertainty.
22. Adjust your professional outfit to suit the culture.
23. Learn the body language gestures you can use in other cultures.
24. Avoid body language gestures that can offend.
25. Understand it’s okay to make mistakes.
26. Organise group language training which can also serve as a team-building opportunity.
27. Be flexible with your idea of “punctuality”.
28. Understand not all cultures get “straight to the point”.
29. Commit to relationship building.
30. Cultivate trust.
31. Develop an inquisitive personality.
32. Start to learn another language.
33. Treat customers with an ultimate level of respect.
34. Leverage cultural similarities.
35. View cultural differences as an asset.
36. Organise trust-building exercises and events for your team.
37. Understand there are cultural traits as well as personality traits.
38. Become more self-aware.
39. Understand your own cultural traits and habits.
40. Invest in training and development programs for cross-cultural leadership.
41. Invest in a personal coach to guide you through the nuances of global leadership that you don’t see.

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About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox