Are You Really a Global Leader?

Are You Really a Global Leader?

I was looking at some technology this past week and they were telling me they are a global technology provider! So, of course, I ask the question, “Oh, really, where do you have users?”

A bit of silence and then some explaining, “Oh, well, of course here in the U.S., but we also have users in Canada and the UK.” So, not really that Global, really just Global-ish, right!?

I see the same thing from profiles on LinkedIn all the time. “Global Talent Acquisition Leader”, “Global Head of HR”, etc. When you dig in you find they have the responsibility of the U.S. and like one other location outside of the U.S. I had one the other day that literally had the U.S. and Canada and never, in their career, had any responsibility outside of those two countries, but “Global” was still in the title.

Calm down, sparky!

Questions to ask yourself to know if you’re truly a Global leader:

  • Do you only take meetings and calls in your own time zone? If yes, you’re not a global leader!
  • Does your entire team only speak one language? If yes, you’re not a global leader!
  • Does your passport only have stamps from vacation spots? If yes, you’re not a global leader!
  • Do you only have direct employees in three countries or more? If no, you’re not a global leader!
  • Do you spend a great deal of your time managing cultural conflicts? If no, you’re not a global leader!

Okay, maybe you can still be a global leader and not have correctly answer one or two of the above questions, but there is a difference between being a leader who had multiple country responsibilities and being “global”.

But, “Global” looks so super sexy in my title!

Yes, it does! I’ll grant you that. But you look like a moron to people who are truly global and who you most likely are striving to become. The last thing you want to do when trying to become global is to show you have no idea what being a global leader truly is.

I’m Not a Global Leader

I’ve only run operations within the U.S.. So, when I give advice, it’s important for me to understand if whomever I’m working with is global or not. What I can tell them is how this work within the U.S. If the problem is a global problem, I’m fairly confident I can help, but I have not actually performed TA outside of the U.S.

I’ve traveled, spoken and worked with TA leaders all over the world. So, I know enough to be dangerous. I would feel confident taking on a global role within TA that I could figure out what needed to be done and how to be successful, but I base that mostly on my ability to pull from a global network of experts whom I know would help me.

Still, I’m not a global leader.