In this day and age, we are not restrained to work only in our own communities and cultures. We have the opportunity to travel across seas, across borders and be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Learning how to be a global leader is so important in developing yourself as a person. How can we be more globally minded? Read the 5 tips below on how to better yourself as an international leader!
Understand other countries’ cultural norms
How do other cultures discuss business? How do you show your gratefulness to those living in different countries with different societal norms? These are the kinds of questions you have to ask yourself when trying to develop yourself as a global leader. Different societies function differently and have different societal norms than you are acquainted with. Take note of the differences, appreciate them and adapt to them.
Not only are there language barriers that one sometimes must overcome to fully communicate with someone from a different culture, but HOW you go about communicating might differ as well. Is there a common way to contact one another? For example, is it most ideal to email, speak over the phone, or text? Learning how a culture most commonly communicates will save you time and show your counterpart in that culture that you value their communication culture.
When going into a different society or culture, really dive in and embrace every opportunity (within reason) that is presented to you! You will learn by doing. Apply the common phrase “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. If you go to a dinner with a colleague or peer, eat food that is native to where you are! Take everything in, both professionally and socially.
Being flexible is a large aspect of working with international counterparts. You have to take the time and really listen to their ideas and what they have to say. Having the opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds can build a very unique and impactful final product. You might have an idea of what you want the project to look like, but be flexible and alter your ideas in a way that you can collaborate with the ideas of those you are working with.
Individualism vs. Collectivism
The United States is a country that is very individualistic. Much of our time is spent working individually on projects instead of as a team. We split up work instead of collaborating. In any cultures, this is not always the case. We must remember that not all cultures believe in being individualistic, but collective. Working collaboratively can help form some of the best ideas, so be open to that and how others may think differently than you anticipated.