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Global Leadership Lesson #2: Exemplary Global Leaders Are Forward-Looking

Posted Oct 22 2008 9:30pm

Last week I reported on the first of four dimensions that are common to successful global leaders. According to our research surveying 300,000 respondents from 60 countries and data from Project GLOBE involving 170 researchers studying 17,000 managers in 62 countries, the first universally positive facilitator of leadership effectiveness is honesty and integrity. They second is…being forward-looking and having foresight.

A little more than 70 percent of our most recent respondents selected the ability to look ahead as one of their most sought-after leadership traits. Among the most senior executives, the percentage is 88 percent. People expect leaders to have a sense of direction and a concern for the future of the organization. Exemplary leaders are able to envision the future, to gaze across the horizon of time and imagine the greater opportunities to come. They are able to develop a unique image of the future. But it’s not just the leader’s vision. It’s a shared vision—a vision for the common good.

A shared vision of the future is necessary, but insufficient, according to our research. To achieve extraordinary things done people need vast reserves of energy and excitement to sustain commitment to a distant dream. Enthusiasm is contagious, as the saying goes, and leaders must be a major source of that energy. They must inspire a shared vision of the future. Clarity of vision into the distant future, and enthusiastic communication of a shared vision, may be difficult to attain, but it’s essential that leaders seek the knowledge and master the skills necessary to envision what’s across the horizon and to convey the message with conviction and inspiration. Compared to all the other leadership abilities this is the one that most distinguishes leaders from other credible people.

Posted by Jim Kouzes

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