Great leaders are an essential component of success for any business but particularly those with ambitions to expand overseas. In global business, quality leadership is important for building robust teams and ensuring the projects required to grow the business are completed.
If you are an experienced employee, you are likely to have seen the results of weak and strong leadership. If you have ambitions to become an expat during your career then understanding how to lead is going to be key. There are so many elements involved in positive leadership, it can be difficult to know where to start. We suggest:
1. Know your leadership style
Most of us develop a leadership style as a result of experience and our innate personality. Did any of the leadership styles listed above ring true for you? Spend some time researching it. Understand the strengths and the weaknesses that may be associated with how you lead. See if there are other styles you could learn about and employ in elements of your day to day work.
2. Communicate openly and transparently
Clear and honest communication is essential in good leadership. Your own candour and transparency sets the tone within your team. If you make this a key value for yourself, then your team is likely to follow. Great leaders can tailor their communication style to suit the situation.
Take the time to understand how your team members prefer to communicate and use that method. This should help build trust in your team. Being a good listener is also important, use active listening tactics like silence, asking questions and reflecting what has been said to show you not only heard but understand what has been said.
3. Teach rather than instruct
Good leaders know how to show others what is needed rather than instructing them on what to do. If you are leading a team aim to coach them toward being more collaborative and committed rather than telling them.
If you attempt to control colleagues, you are unlikely to get the levels of engagement you need to reach your organisation's goals. Instead, Business News Daily suggests helping those you lead discover the choices they have in front of them so they take ownership over the task at hand.
4. Stay positive
What can separate a good leader from a great leader is how they respond to a negative situation. It is easy to be positive when things are going well but how do you respond to a negative situation? If someone on your team makes an error, large or small, how do you react? Research conducted by Robert Mann showed if you can find 3 positives about a difficult situation it helps people work together to find a solution.
5. Ask for feedback on your leadership
Your colleagues are not the only ones who benefit from honest communication. It may be difficult for you to assess your leadership ability yourself so ask your team for suggestions on what you could change about your style and approach. Equip them with the language needed to provide feedback in a positive way. Having this skill will be useful to them, not only in their day-to-day work but later in their career when they reach leadership positions themselves.
Becoming a better leader takes time, research and self-reflection. If you are hoping to become a better leader for an expat role, we also have some tips for a successful expat job interview and questions to ask at your interview that may be helpful.
Before you leave for assignment, don’t forget international health insurance so you can access private medical treatment should you become ill or have an accident while overseas.