Analysis of Global Leadership Competencies


In this diversified business world, when the business firms operate in the global markets, they have to deal with a wide range of cross cultural differences. In the area of management, leadership is one of the most crucial and important themes. Hanges, Aiken, Park and Su (2016, p. 65), mentioned that the idea of leadership in an organization can be explained as the abilities and skills of individuals to influence the behavior of others to contributes in the success of the organization. According to Reilly and Karounos (2009, p. 1), leaders of the global business organizations have to operate in the cross cultural business environment and their styles of leading people and business influences with a wide range of factors including internal organizational and societal factors. This piece of paper presents a critical evaluation on the impact of societal and internal organizational culture on leadership. Along with this, a selected set of cultural competencies that a global leader should have to become successful and effective in the cross cultural environment are discussed.

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Impact of Societal and Internal Organizational Culture on Leadership

In the global environment, the leadership styles of individuals are affected by several internal and external environmental factors. The societal cultural can be explained as the values and beliefs accepted by the social and community people, whereas the organizational culture is shaped by the norms and values defined by organizational people for the management of a diversified culture people (Emmerling and Boyatzis, 2012, p. 5). For all the business leaders impact of social and organizational culture is crucial for them to shape their leadership style. The cultural environment of Westerns countries like America, United Kingdom and Europe is entirely different from the Asian countries such as Japan, India, China, thus, leaders have to adopt their leadership styles according to the culture of the society. For example, in the United Kingdom, the relationship between superior and subordinate is close and they have little power distance in comparison to Japan (Boley, Maruyama & Woosnam, 2015, p. 119). Thus, it is considerable for the leaders to follow a strict hierarchy process to influence the followers in Japanese culture.

At the same time, different cultural factors in the society such as individualism and collectivism nature, risks taking behavior and long term orientation, femininity and so on influences the leader behavior and style of leading people at a high extent. In an individualistic social culture, the leaders have to ensure that they would assign responsibilities and give credit to individual employees to manage high productivity and performance (Dartey-Baah, 2013, p. 41).

On the other hand, internal organizational culture also has an impact on global leadership in terms of creating a diversified culture, leading the employees in a participative approaches and providing them a happy and pleasant working and growing environment for their welfare and healthy development. For example, if the organization is facing an unpredictable change, leaders have to follow a situational style and focus on managing change resistance (Mohelska and Sokolova, 2015, p. 1012). In a cross cultural environment, effective communication, ethical and religious values and organizational and social norms are highly important to improve the performance of a leader.

Selected Set of Cultural Competencies for a Global Leader

To become a successful global leader, an individual leader should have some critical competencies and skills, so that the leader would be able to manage societal and organizational culture.In this set of cultural competencies, social intelligence and emotional intelligence are one of the most critical competencies (Emmerling and Boyatzis, 2012, p. 9). It is also imperative for the leader to value culture flexibility and differences at the time of dealing in a cross cultural environment. Along with this, ability to deal with multiple perspectives and ambiguity, frame shifting and emotionally resilient are some unique competencies to become a successful global leader (Hanges, Aiken, Park and Su, 2016, p. 69).

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Specific Profile of Global Leadership

Based on the above discussed competencies, a specific profile of global leadership should have 11 skills and abilities, which are as follows:

  • An in-depth self awareness
  • Strategic thinking from global perspective
  • Dynamic and flexible personality
  • Well spoken
  • Effective negotiation skills
  • Self Confidence
  • Emotional empathy
  • Sensitive to social values
  • Lifelong curiosity
  • Risk taking behavior
  • Patiently impatient

Characteristics and Effectiveness of these Cultural Competencies in the Global Context:

All of the defined cultural competencies have different characteristics and attributes, which improves the capabilities of leaders to cope with the diversified global environment. A social intelligence competency has characteristics of identifying, recognize and use of social information and emotions of other at the right place and right time. It facilitates the leaders to lead effective cause and create a social bond with the employees to improve their performances (Emmerling and Boyatzis, 2012, p. 7). Further, the competency of emotional intelligence also has unique characteristics of recognizing information about the individual, who lead success causes. This enables the leaders to develop an emotional bond with the followers (Reilly and Karounos, 2009, p. 3). In addition, both of these competencies have attributes of giving value to the cultural flexibility. The competency of multiple perspectives and ambiguity has features of understanding diversified perception of the employees and respond them with high patience and using problem solving skills, whereas frame shifting is a characteristic of a leader, which supports him to adopt different leadership model and style to lead the followers in a different culture (Caligiuri and Tarique, 2012, p. 612).

All of these competencies are highly effective for the individuals to become a successful global leader. By developing all of these competencies, the leader would be able to understand the cultural differences and how these differences can be managed by developing a strong social and emotional relationship with the followers. It is considerable to deal with ambiguity available in the global environment, to influence all the employees in a positive manner. In order to become a global leader, an individual should have multiple perspectives to solve a problem and focus on the flexible culture requirement rather than sticking on a single cultural perspective (Asree, Zain and Razalli, 2010, p. 530). All of these competencies are also beneficial for the global leader to handle the competitive pressure and manage interpersonal relationship in the global environment with culturally diversified business experts and workforce (Hanges, Aiken, Park and Su, 2016, p. 67).

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Comparison of Current and Future Leadership Competencies

In the 21st century, above discussed leadership characteristics and skills are highly effective for the individuals to handle a highly unpredictable and competitive global business environment and manage changing external societal and internal organizational environment. At the same time, as the trend is changing and introduction of new modern business practices, high dependency on the wireless information technologies and introduction of e-commerce business platform, it is considerable for the business leader to develop some new and innovative competencies. From the cultural perspective, along with the current discussed competencies in the future, the leader should also focus on technical competencies and abilities to link the diversified culture with technology.

The leader should have a multiple perspective of the development of culture through wireless technologies and abilities to handle virtual teams (Hyejung, Jungi and Jung, 2013, p. 4). Accountability and responsibility along with followership and technical competencies are essential for the future leaders in the global economy. It is also important for the leaders to be open minded and give independence to the followers to do their work with their own skills and knowledge and do not interfere in their activities according to the changing social trends. Here, tolerance, empathic and risk taking behavior will help the leaders to handle a most advanced workforce generation (Caligiuri and Tarique, 2012, p. 620). In the coming future, along with high value of emotions, managing rewards and appraisals for their hard work is more important. Producing innovation, taking risk and leading change will be the most required competencies in the coming future for the leaders.


Thus, on the basis of the above discussion, it can be concluded that a global leader have to handle a pressure of both societal external environment and organizational internal environment. As the societal culture environment is created with different factors and dimension, the leader have to understand all of these difference to lead a culturally diversified workforce. Similarly, in the company, defining organizational culture, its policies and practices and working according to the internal culture pattern is also important for the leader to lead a diversified workforce in a right direction. For a global leader, some essential competencies are social intelligence, emotional intelligence, abilities of understanding multiple perspective and handling ambiguity, frame shifter, communication and so on. A successful global leader always promotes diversified view points and tries to create social and emotional balance among the employees.In the coming future, a global leader should focus on technical competencies and innovation to and technical business platform and virtual teams.


  • Asree, S., Zain, M. and Razalli, M.R. (2010) ‘Influence of leadership competency and organizational culture on responsiveness and performance of firms’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 22, no. 4, pp.500 – 516.
  • Boley, B.B., Maruyama, N. and Woosnam, K.M. (2015) ‘Measuring empowerment in an eastern context: Findings from Japan’. Tourism Management, vol. 50, pp. 112-122.
  • Caligiuri, P. and Tarique, I. (2012) ‘Dynamic cross-cultural competencies and global leadership effectiveness’, Journal of world business, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 612-622
  • Dartey-Baah, K. (2013) ‘The Cultural Approach to the Management of the International Human Resource: An Analysis of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions’. International Journal of Business Administration, vol. 4 no. 2, pp. 39-45.
  • Emmerling, R.J. and Boyatzis, R.E. (2012) ‘Emotional and social intelligence competencies: cross cultural implications’, Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 4-18.
  • Hanges, P.J., Aiken, J.R., Park, J. and Su, J. (2016) ‘Cross-cultural leadership: leading around the world’, Culture, Current Opinion in Psychology, vol. 8, pp. 64-69.
  • Hyejung, L., Jungi, P. and Jung, W.L. (2013) ‘Role of Leadership Competencies and Team Social Capital in it Services’, The Journal of Computer Information Systems, vol. 53, no. 4, pp.
  • Mohelska, H. and Sokolova, M. (2015) ‘Organisational Culture and Leadership – Joint Vessels?’ Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 171, pp. 1011-1016.
  • Reilly, A.H. and Karounos, T.J. (2009) ‘Exploring the Link between Emotional Intelligence and Cross-Cultural Leadership Effectiveness’, Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies, pp. 1-13.
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