The ‘walk’ refers to global development process that precedes communication. Leaders know how to attract followers. It is the hope that they are able to lead effectively, especially leading those within their own organization, in their home countries. But what happens when the boundaries expand abroad? Does the level or type of leadership change? Indeed it does.
A key leadership attribute of the twenty-first century leader will be the ability to see the world and the workplaces with a global mindset. There is a principle of relativity in culture; experience is something people project on the outside world as they gain it in a culturally determined form.
Leaders of organizations must learn to be global leaders when making the efforts to expand beyond the home country. Research needs to be done; they should educate themselves about the area of interest and their cultural practices. Having that knowledge can give a global leader the winning edge when developing staff in other areas of the world.
With the lack of knowledge, come challenges. Sometimes global leadership is not successful due to the minimal research and information acquired prior to organizational expansion. It is wise for global leaders to be mindful of these potential barriers.
Acquiring personal literacy can give the global leader aggressive insight on key cultural behaviors. The global leader should understand the culture to the point where he/she can almost walk in the shoes of a person who lives in the country abroad. The global leader should:
1) Immerse oneself in the target culture
2) Train future leaders as global citizens, and
3) Involve everybody in the organization’s global strategy at the right time.
Culture is communication and communication is culture. There are several modes of communication from which a global leader can choose and determine is most effective. If the global leader is very familiar with the cultural practices of the partner country it may be easier for them to decide what works and what does not.
For the global leader who is experiencing global outreach to a specific country for the first time, further research and opportunities to understand the culture may be required; additionally, learning through trial and error may become the platform from which the global leaders will acquire which communication strategies are most effective.
The most important thing is to ensure that the message spoken is equivalent to the message received. As mentioned previously, people of other countries can misconstrue the language of Westerners. Global leaders must be aware of how receptive others are to active (direct) or passive (indirect) speech.
Sometimes the direct speech Westerners often have is taken as rude and disrespectful in, for example, Asian cultures. Global leaders must talk the same talk of the people in the country in which they plan to expand; otherwise, organizational failure is imminent.
All of this to say, global leaders should learn effective ways to communicate with remote agencies in countries that are different from that of the home country. When leaders are presented with organizational goals that are used to build or expand the organization, it becomes a greater challenge when achieve those goals may require remote modes of communication.
Whether written, spoken or non-verbal, types and modes of communication are influenced by the culture in which we communicate. Global leaders must recognize the appropriate global walk or processes needed to maintain effective global leadership. Also, they must utilize different ways to communicate to ensure that their businesses and organizational processes are running smoothly. In order for leaders to walk the global walk, they have to also talk the global talk!
What are some other ways organizations can be successful as they cross global boundaries?
ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER
Dr. Janice A. Armstrong is a leadership consultant, lifestyle coach, and owner of LiHK Consulting, LLC, based in the Washington, D.C. area. She received her Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, with a focus in Leadership Coaching, from Regent University. Her background in counseling psychology and leadership development fostered her love for leadership and lifestyle coaching.
Dr. Armstrong provides a wealth of personal and professional development information that has been built over 18 years of training, professional, and organizational development experience. She has shared her knowledge and experiences in her book, “From the Street to the Executive Suite: Remixing Street Smarts and Life Lessons into Leadership Success.”
© 2013 LiHK Consulting, LLC. All rights reserved.
 Marquardt, M.J. & Berger, N.O. (2000). Global Leaders for the 21st century. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, p. 19
 Hall, E.T. (1959), p. 187
 Rosen, R., Digh, P, Singer, M., Phillips, C. () Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Cultures. New York: Simon & Schuster, p. 61.
 Zweifel, T.D. (2003). Culture Clash: Managing the Global High-Performance Team. New York: SelectBooks, p. 72-73.
 Hall, E.T. (1959). The Silent Language. New York: Random House, p. 186