Global leadership is the ability to craft solutions by bringing together people and resources across national, cultural, and even organizational boundaries (Cabrera & Unruh, 2012). In the current global climate, the need for global leaders is quickly rising as globalization becomes more widespread. Globalization is the ongoing process of interdependence of integration of economies, societies, and cultures that occurs through a worldwide network of global communication and trade (Mendenhall et al., 2008).
The challenge for global leaders is encountering, interacting, leading, and accepting various cultures they come into contact. The challenge primarily lies within the leader’s ability to stave off the temptation to judge those from other cultures in light of their own culture. The question that lies at the crux of this issue is, what practical disciplines can be developed in a leader to suspend judgment of new cultures?
The answer can be found in the servant leadership style. Servant leadership begins with the natural feeling one has to serve others first (Greenleaf, 1970). Global leaders enter into new cultures often for organizational reasons with organizational objectives, but global leaders must keep in mind that people come before material goods and financial gain (Jones and Millar, 2010). Approaching global leadership from a servant perspective will provide the necessary skills for delaying judgment.
Servant leaders are those who listen and operate out of empathy; they seek to make others whole through a developed sense of awareness of people’s needs (Spears & Lawrence, 2002). Servant leaders focus on building community and are committed to the growth of people through the accomplishment of their leadership objectives (Spears & Lawrence, 2002). If a global leader operates with the disciplines of a servant leader, the temptation to judge a people will be delayed since the focus will be placed primarily on serving them.
Cabrera, A., & Unruh, G. (2012). Being global: how to think, act, and lead in a transformed world. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Review Press.
Greenleaf, R. (2012). The Servant as Leader. The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
Mendenhall, M. E., Osland, J., Bird, A., Oddou, G. R., & Maznevski, M. L. (2008). Global leadership: research, practice, and development. London ; New York: Routledge.
Spears, L. C., & Lawrence, M. (Eds.). (2002). Focus on leadership: servant-leadership for the twenty-first century. New York: J. Wiley & Sons.