Exercise 6A: Typical and Ideal Global Leaders

In the course Forum, describe the characteristics of a typical global leader. Then describe the characteristics of an ideal global leader.

Review the two lists of descriptions submitted by your peers. What are the main differences in the two lists? Does one description seem more like a male leader and the other more like a female leader?

For most managers, the typical leader will almost always sound like a man, and the ideal leader will sound more like a woman. A number of scholars have observed that we are currently in transition between a more typically male-oriented style of leadership of the twentieth century to a more feminine style of leadership in the twenty-first century.

Exercise 6B: Most Admired Leaders Worldwide

Select a leader whom you strongly admire – known personally to you or not. These could be famous leaders, such as Gandhi, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, or Nelson Mandela, or family or friends who have had a strong influence on you. Identify the qualities, characteristics, or behaviors that make you admire the leader you have selected. 

Exercise 6C: Cultural Influences on Prominent World Leaders

Publicly elected officials often display the leadership values and behaviors of their culture. Historically, they only had to address people from their own culture, but today, especially with the increase in electronic media, leaders often find themselves addressing a global audience. In this exercise, you will have an opportunity to assess a range of prominent leaders' effectiveness, both at a local and at a global level.

Select two prominent world leaders and describe their behavior in cultural terms. In which ways is their leadership a particularly good fit with the culture of the country they lead?

Identify aspects of prominent leaders' styles that would make them a particularly good global leader (not just a single-culture leader, but a leader who is influential worldwide). Then identify the aspects of the prominent leaders' styles that would distract from their effectiveness as world leaders.

Exercise 6D: Reflecting

According to leadership scholar Howard Gardner, "Reflecting means spending a lot of time thinking about what it is that you are trying to achieve, seeing how you are doing, continuing if things are going well, correcting course if not; that is, being in a constant dialectic with your work, your project or your set of projects and not just going on blind faith [for extended periods] without stepping back and reflecting."

Extraordinary leaders build time into every day to reflect, to look at the big picture. In your Global Insight and Wisdom Journal, note any time you currently have built into your life on a daily basis for reflection. Ideally, how would you like to safeguard time for reflecting on a daily basis?

Exercise 6E: Leveraging

According to leadership scholar Howard Gardner, "People are not equally good in everything. …Extraordinary people …find out what their competitive advantage is, they push that as hard as they can, and they do not worry that much about things that they are not good at." 

In your Global Insight and Wisdom Journal, assess your distinctive advantage. What are you particularly good at doing?
1.What would you say are your distinctive advantages as a leader right now?
2.How do you currently leverage your distinctive advantages? (That is, how do you make the best use of your distinctive competencies as a leader?)
3.How could you increasingly leverage your distinctive advantages?
4.What should you do less of or drop altogether because you are not good at it (and someone else could do it better?)

Exercise 6F: Framing: The Skill of Extraordinary Leaders

According to leadership scholar Howard Gardner, "Extraordinary people, because they are risk takers, experience lots of failures; however, they learn how to frame their failures. Framing means that rather than giving up right away or ignoring the failure completely, they say, "What can I learn from this?" "What's the lesson here?" "How can I convert this obstacle into an opportunity?" "How can I dissect this experience so that next time things will work much better?"

Do you see yourself as primarily a risk taker or a risk avoider? Ask yourself, "What can I learn from failure?" rather than how can I ignore failure or descend into defeat.

Exercise 6G: Envisioning an Ideal Future

Imagine yourself 20 years into the future. Imagine the global community you really want as if it exists now. Write one sentence in the form of: "In the ideal future, the world will be…"

As global leaders who have an influence on the world, what do you think it is important to work toward? As global business leaders, how important is it that you be concerned with the overall impact of business on society? As business leaders, how important is it that you are active in the overall development of society?

Exercise 6H: Images of Power

For you, what is the essence of power? What is your image of power?

Exercise 6I: Cultural Roots of Motivation

What are your own assumptions about motivation? Why would you work hard? List your own assumptions about what motivates you to work hard.

Why do you think people from your culture work? What makes people from your culture work hard? What could a leader do to motivate people from your culture to work hard? Create a list of the reasons you believe people from your culture would be willing to work hard; that is, create a list of your motivation assumptions for people from your own culture. Create a list of what a leader could do to motivate people from your culture.

After listing the reasons you believe people from your own culture would be willing to work hard, analyze the list from a cultural perspective. What are the cultural assumptions underlying your motivation approach? 

Exercise 6J: Local Justice and Integrity 

The Situation:

A major North American company operating in Asia discovered one of the local employees stealing company property of minimal value. The managers at the location, all of whom are expatriate Americans, had little doubt about the employee's guilt.

As managing director of the facility, what would you do about the situation? Describe your individual decision and your reasoning.

What the actual managing director did:

Following the company's standard worldwide procedure, the American managing director reported the case to the local police. Similar to many other North American companies, this company believed that it was best to let officials from the local culture deal with theft and similar violations in whatever way they found most appropriate, rather than imposing the system of justice from their home culture.
•What do you think about the managing director's action? Do you think it will be effective? Why? Why not? Post your assessment on the web for your group to read.
•In your opinion, was the managing director's action effective? Why? Why not? What might be the unintended consequences of the managing director's actions?

What actually happened:

Immediately after the managing director contacted them, the local police arrived at the company, arrested the employee, took him to the station, and interrogated him according to local procedures. The employee confessed. The police then took the employee outside and shot him dead.

The American managing director was devastated. For weeks, he was haunted by the fact that his action, taken because he thought it was culturally appropriate and fair, had led to the murder of an employee. 

What went wrong? 

Re-analyze the situation from the perspective of both the North American expatriate managing director who made the decision and the local authorities who responded to the information provided to them by the expatriate managing director. Share your initial assessment with your team.

Imagine that you are on the company's senior management committee responsible for setting policies for the company's entire worldwide operations. Consider each of the following questions:

•How should employees be treated when they compromise integrity? Does a company's belief in maintaining the highest level of integrity limit its ability to consider culturally based values differences-and more importantly, their consequences-between the company's culture and the local national cultures?

•Should companies review their policies on the prevention of theft and promotion of personal honesty in the light off cultural differences? Can a company use worldwide standards and procedures? Or must companies define integrity issues differently in each country or region of the world?

•Given the company's belief in maintaining the highest respect for people while maintaining the highest personal integrity, how should it handle future situations such as this?

Review what you said you would do if you had been the American managing director and why? Knowing how the situation turned out, what would you now recommend that future managing directors do in similar situations?