Global Leadership

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The best leaders:

Are friends with their subordinates but make decisions on their own Compete with their own direct reports and make sure they are better than others Speak honestly, but take into account others’ status Use indirect language and metaphors rather than get straight to the point Avoid taking risks

American readers are probably scratching their heads: what kind of a leadership profile is this? How can a leader ignore his direct reports when making key decisions? What happens to credibility when you’re constantly massaging the message?

The brief profile above came from a survey of Chinese managers as part of the research program called the GLOBE project. Of course, there are also parts of the
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Given that I have a stake in business school education, I can’t help but wonder how we should be preparing our graduates for such a global environment. Can a business school improve the Global Mindset of its students if the school, its administration, and its faculty don’t have it themselves?

Mansour Javidan is the Dean of Research, Garvin Distinguished Professor, and Director the Global Mindset Leadership Institute at Thunderbird School of Global Management. His latest HBR article, “Making It Overseas,” was published in April 2010.

(Editor’s note: This post is part of a six-week blog series on how leadership might look in the future. The conversations generated by these posts will help shape the agenda of a symposium on the topic in June 2010, hosted by HBS’s Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana, and Scott Snook. This week’s focus: cultural distinctions and
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