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Do You Have What it Takes to be a Global Manager?

Not long ago the hot job title to own was general manager. No pigeon hole here. As a GM, you were expected to have a wide range of skills and to exercise P&L responsibilities across a number of different disciplines -- operations, marketing, sales, you name it.

I think the hot job to practice for at least the next 10 years will be global manager (although your title won't be that), and for many of the same reasons. The ideal candidates must be able to master a big swath of the business, but also exercise that role in a multinational, multicultural setting.

So what makes a good global manager?

Here's a list offered by HBR.org, as culled from its Management Tip of the Day e-mail.

  • Intellectual capital. "This is your capacity to understand how business works on a global level and includes a strong grasp on how the industry operates worldwide, as well as the ability to piece together multiple scenarios."
  • Psychological capital. "To be a global leader you need to have a passion for diversity, a thirst for adventure, and the self-confidence to succeed in a culture completely different than your own."
  • Social capital. "You need to be able to build productive relationships with people from other parts of the world. To do this, you'll need intercultural empathy and strong diplomacy skills."
For more detail, see the Harvard Business Review article Managing Yourself and Making It Overseas, by Mansour Javidan, Mary Teagarden and David Bowen.

What's interesting about this list is that the skill base that propelled your success in the States is probably not going to help you on a global scale. For example, I'm not sure someone boasting a "thirst for adventure" would be a great fit in the C-suite of a Fortune 100 company.

For those of you who work in a global business, how would you change this list? What traits do you think the modern global manager most needs?

(Globe image by somegeekintn, CC 2.0)

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