SOURCE: The Center for Talent Innovation

The Center for Talent Innovation

October 29, 2015 05:00 ET

Study Reveals Global Leader Competencies Required for Competitive Market Advantage

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - October 29, 2015) - Findings released today by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) suggest that global employees need to master a pivot, prioritizing certain behaviors with superiors and global stakeholders, to project credibility. Projecting credibility puts rising leaders on the radar for sponsorship at headquarters. The findings, published in Growing Global Executives: The New Competencies, are based on multi-market interviews, focus groups, and survey data from employees in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the US and the UK.

Across all markets, six behaviors help rising leaders project credibility. Yet the data reveals that each market weighs these behaviors differently. Sixty-two percent of senior leaders in the US and the UK say that demonstrating authority projects credibility. The reverse is true in growth-hub markets: fifty-seven percent of global stakeholders in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, and Turkey say that demonstrating emotional intelligence wins the trust and respect of teams in local markets.

"It is crucial for rising leaders to learn to flex or pivot their leadership style as they work to both build trust across local markets and credibility and buy in from senior leaders at headquarters," says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation. "Companies need to ensure that rising leaders in local markets develop the skills they need to win in this global marketplace."

Gender further complicates the prioritization of certain behaviors with senior leaders and global stakeholders. Asserting authority and exercising emotional intelligence look different for men and women. In Brazil, China, India, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan, respondents believe that female leaders should demonstrate authority in a reserved way, whereas men are expected to flex it more assertively. In India, for example, 82 percent of respondents say men should be assertive in demonstrating their authority, whereas only 44 percent say that women should do the same.

"Leaders need to learn how to communicate their value to senior leadership and global stakeholders, prioritizing certain behaviors according to gender and cultural expectations," says Ripa Rashid, senior vice president at the Center for Talent Innovation. "Those who communicate in gender -- and culturally -- appropriate ways will secure the resources and backing they need to realize their strategy for growth."

A survey of six key markets (Brazil, China, HK, India, the UK, and the US) reveals that multinational employees who succeed in earning the advocacy of a senior leader at headquarters -- a sponsor -- are more likely to be satisfied with their career progression than employees with local sponsors (83 percent versus 68 percent). Multinational employees with sponsors, moreover, are more likely than employees without sponsors to have asked for and received a promotion (76 percent versus 47 percent).

Additional key areas that employees must master to become effective global leaders include developing inclusive leadership behaviors and becoming proficient at virtual communication. Leaders who behave inclusively are more likely than leaders who do not to foster collaboration across cultural divides. Global team members with inclusive leaders are four times as likely as global team members with non-inclusive leaders to say they embrace the input of team members whose background/experience differs from their own (88 percent versus 22 percent). According to the study, leaders who listen carefully, maintain regular contact with team members, facilitate constructive arguments, give actionable feedback, take feedback and act on it, and share credit for team success unlock the innovative potential of team members.

Further, rising leaders must project credibility and drive value virtually, a reality that demands the technical mastery of virtual meeting platforms and mobile communication applications. Virtual collaboration can also be optimized by implementing strategies that are effective in eliciting feedback/response. Fifty-seven percent of respondents say that distributing pre-reads that communicate key talking points and allow for careful reading before the meeting will ensure team objectives are met when meeting virtually. Forty-six percent say that sharing an explicit agenda prior to the meeting and sticking to it will also ensure that objectives are met.

The report features best-practice examples from multinational companies that have programs to develop their rising global executives. Featured companies include American Express, Bloomberg, and Pearson.

Growing Global Executives: The New Competencies will be launched today via three livestream sessions (London, New York, San Jose) co-hosted by Pearson and Cisco. Panelists include N.V. "Tiger" Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact; Trevor Phillips, Deputy Chair of the National Equality Standard; and Karyn Twaronite, Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer at Ernst & Young LLP. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

Research Sponsors

American Express, Bloomberg, Cisco, Ernst & Young LLP, Genpact, Goldman Sachs, Intel, The Moody's Foundation, Pearson, Sodexo

Research Authors

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is the founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation and Hewlett Consulting Partners LLC. A Cambridge-trained economist, her research focuses on global talent management and the retention and acceleration of highly qualified women and other previously excluded groups. She is the author of 12 critically acclaimed books, including Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). Hewlett has taught at Columbia and Princeton universities. In 2014 the European Diversity Awards honored her with its Global Diversity Award.

Ripa Rashid is senior vice president at the Center for Talent Innovation and managing partner at Hewlett Consulting Partners LLC. A graduate of Harvard University and INSEAD's MBA program, Rashid spent over a decade as a management consultant and has held senior positions at MetLife and Time Warner. She is coauthor with Hewlett of Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011).

About the Research

This research consists of a survey, Insights in-Depth® sessions (a proprietary web-based tool used to conduct voice-facilitated virtual focus groups) involving more than 54 people from our Task Force organizations, and one-on-one interviews with 48 men and women in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, and the US. Survey data comes from two large-scale samples of college educated respondents over the age of 21 currently employed full-time. Survey 1, conducted online between November 2014 and April 2015, includes 12,029 men and women (1,005 in Brazil, 1,005 in China, 1,001 in Hong Kong, 1,004 in India, 1,004 in Japan, 1,001 in Russia, 1,001 in Singapore, 1,002 in South Africa, 1,003 in Turkey, 1,003 in the UK, and 2,000 in the US). Survey 2, conducted online in May 2015, includes 6,014 men and women (1,007 in Brazil, 1,001 in China, 1,001 in Hong Kong, 1,000 in India, 1,004 in the UK, and 1,001 in the US). Data were weighted on gender, age, income, and ethnicity in the US, and gender and age in all other countries. The entire multinational sample had an additional weight to be balanced across all countries. The base used for statistical testing was the effective base.

About the Center for Talent Innovation

The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) is an NYC-based think tank which focuses on global talent strategies and the retention and acceleration of well-qualified labor across the divides of gender, generation, geography, and culture. CTI's research partners now number 86 multinational corporations and organizations.

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