5 Soft Skills Needed For Successful Global Leadership

Posted by Patrick Lynch on January 27, 2016
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6-soft-skills-needed-for-successful-global-leadershipIf you want to succeed in today’s volatile global economy, you must be prepared to do business all around the world. But what skills do today's executives need to develop to become the effective global leaders of tomorrow? 

While it is extremely important to have solid hard skills such as: computer software and application knowledge, data analysis, mathematics, programming, etc. Effective global leaders are also having to hone their softer side - or at least their soft skills. 

As a current or emerging global leader you most likely possess and utilize these key soft skills of an effective leader including:

  • Developing and sharing a valid vision
  • Defining goals
  • Communicating effectively
  • Role specific knowledge, acumen and experience
  • Critical thinking

While it's true that these skills will give you a boost up the corporate ladder; new skills are also coming to the forefront for today’s effective leaders. These include: 

Strategic Thinking. More and more organizations are learning that past experience is not always the best basis for developing future strategies. They are asking their leaders to ask the “what” and “why” of the planning process. This helps answer the question, “What should we be doing, and why?” 

Team Leadership. Effective leadership in teams assumes behavioral flexibility, problem-solving skills applicable to teams, and using discretion when determining if leader intervention is necessary.

Collaboration. Companies today are looking for individuals who get teams to work together to a common purpose to the benefit of the business. Although it sounds simple, to ensure successful collaboration you will need to overcome diversity - especially in a global leadership environment - in both personal objectives and aspirations, contradictory opinions about the current situation, not to mention diverse personalities.

Communication. The ability to communicate in a professional manner can take you a long way in your career. You may not even realize how much communication impacts your day to day, but it does. That’s why it is so important that you learn to communicate at work.Even the aspect of how you communicate with your colleagues needs careful consideration sometimes. For instance, are you using the right medium to communicate?  Meaning, should you send an email, call, or stop by their office? Are you communicating too much information? Or not enough information?

Decision-making. One of the greatest skills a leader can have is the ability to make effective business decisions. Business leaders make dozens of decisions every day that influence the success of the company while also having an impact on employees, customers or the marketplace. Developing such a skill - without becoming overconfident - requires a combination of education, experience, and intuition. 

Coaching/mentoring. At one time coaching and mentoring were reserved for senior managers and company directors, now it is available to all as a professional or personal development tool. Coaching & mentoring, both of which focus on the individual, can enhance morale, motivation, and productivity and reduce staff turnover as individuals feel valued and connected with both small and large organizational changes. 

Interpersonal skills. The skills used by a person to properly interact with others. In the business domain, the term generally refers to an employee's ability to get along with others while getting the job done. Interpersonal skills include everything from communication and listening skills to attitude and deportment. Good interpersonal skills are a prerequisite for many positions in an organization.

Impact and influence. The ability to influence others is crucial in your career and in management and leadership. When you lead a team, you use influence to set the strategy and get everybody on board. Influence, at its most basic definition, is changing someone’s behavior. It's making an impact in a situation where  ordinarily you wouldn’t have much control.

Although soft skills do not come to every leader naturally, the good news is that like any skill, soft skills can be learned. The better news? Boosting your soft skills not only gives you a leg up on a new job or a promotion, but these skills also have obvious applications in all areas of a person's life, both professional and personal. Want to learn more global leadership skills? Check out our eBook, 5 Simple Tips to Thrive in a VUCA World , and don't miss out on Thunderbird's new Transformational Global Leadership Journey.

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Topics: global leadership

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