Two Effective Leadership Styles for Global Business

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With the rate of technological advance over the past few decades, the business and economic landscapes have changed. The growth of the internet has broken down geographic barriers and allowed companies to partner across international borders with incredible ease. It has also allowed motivated individuals to seek opportunities for career and personal advancement in new and unique ways. The Executive MBA online program is a testament to the power of the internet for growing your own success and that of your business.

The ubiquity and power of the internet has given rise to an era of collaborative global business; however, it is important to note that global business demands a unique approach when it comes to leadership. Leadership in this setting has to transcend cultural barriers while remaining efficient. With this goal in mind, below are just two examples of different leadership styles that can be effective in the world of global business.

1. Dominant Leadership – Hands On

Dominant leadership calls for a hands-on focused approach from the company’s leader. With this style, the company leader (who could be the CEO, a manager, or anyone else in a position of power) takes charge of the situation at hand. They have a clear strategy in mind and work to motivate people to fulfill their specific roles. This is a helpful strategy for creating a unified front that can get company employees on the same page, especially when deadlines are looming.

One of the issues with this leadership style, however, is that many people don’t like taking orders on a regular basis. Autonomy and decision-making power are important to many employees. Thus, this dominant leadership style could lead to strained relationships between staff and leadership. Therefore, when exhibiting this style, it can often be helpful to:

1. Make suggestions (not demands) when inspiring employee motivation.
2. Make sure employees feel their voices are heard.
3. Try to maintain healthy relationships with employees through open lines of communication.

2. Prestige Leadership – Hands Off

Another leadership style, prestige leadership, is helpful for training and empowering employees. When creativity is needed, this is an effective leadership style because it removes many of the constraints experienced under more dominant leadership. Such constraints include:

1. Employees become less intrinsically motivated and may be driven more by extrinsic rewards, like monetary bonuses.
2. Fewer opinions being considered, which highlights an unnoticed flaw in the strategy – blindly following the leader can sometimes lead to mistakes.
3. Fewer opportunities for employee decision-making and “self-starting.” This can sometimes lead to reduced productivity and idea generation.

Under prestige leadership, employees are encouraged to think outside the box and make important decisions. While this doesn’t mean that the leadership will relinquish control, it does mean that they will direct employees in a freer manner. When faced with a decision, leaders who exhibit this style are not going to force employees to head in a certain direction, but will instead encourage everyone to pitch their ideas for group discussion and come to a group conclusion. Similar to a team, everyone is encouraged to work together to develop a coherent strategy.

Which is Better?

Neither of these leadership styles is necessarily better than the other; however, a strong business leader can often switch fluidly between these and other styles depending on what is appropriate. For example, if there is time to develop creative solutions and people are looking for new ideas, the prestige leadership style may be more appropriate. Alternately, when there are time sensitive projects, such as a product launch or looming deadline, the dominant leadership style is better at producing quick results. It is important to balance these two leadership styles in order to ensure that employees remain happy while also remaining productive. Ultimately, a strong business leader will employ both leadership styles to ensure that everyone remains on track while maintaining creativity throughout the process.

If you are interested in becoming a leader in a global business, jump-start your career by considering an executive MBA degree. Washington State University offers a unique online experience that offers students flexibility and the ability to continue working while pursing the degree. Learn more by visiting WSU’s online executive MBA degree online program.


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