In Rome, Ancients used to say
“There is not far from the Capitol to the Tarpeienne rock”
On top of the Capitol hill was a temple for all the flamboyant triumphs and glorious celebrations. As a victorious general, you would have the supreme honor to lead the glorious army from your char till the Capitol while everyone would clamor your genius.
Yet, this most prestigious hill also had on its slope – just a couple of hundred meters away from the glorious top – the Tarpeienne rock.
From there, we would simply drop to the abyss people sentenced to death…
Glory and decay can be so close to each other…
Achieved success may not always lead to greater success…
“What brought you here may not bring you there” M. Goldsmith
You may have been a brilliant solo achiever.
Success was not an accident but fully correlated to your efforts, supporting the quick promotion you then truly deserved.
You may then have performed amazingly well with your new responsibilities, expanding in scope and in numbers of people you manage. All this would have propelled your career further.
You could have been a great leader with local team
Leading people you see frequently, you could have succeeded to embark them all beyond expected results.
Then came this most glorious moment,
the opportunity to lead your char to the top of the Capitol…
You were asked to lead more people, over a wider area, across many cultures.
Yet… Leading team members that we frequently see significantly differs from leading virtual teams among different time zones and speaking different languages….
Leading team members that speak the same language as yours and have a lot in common with you significantly differs from leading teams belonging to cultures prevailing at the other end of the globe…
And… you were not necessarily prepared for a global role.
And… you were not necessarily prepared for global challenges.
The higher we go, the most exposed we are
Wherever in the world, it has become utmost important to have performing teams and if you have not been prepared for regional or global roles:
- Chances are, you learn by trial and error, on the field
- Chances are, you need to assume consequences for errors you did not expect
- Chances are, you have a lot more at stake than you ever had in your earlier roles
When organizations promote you to a global role, they usually link it to a certain package, to a certain standard of living, to a certain status.
This is utmost painful to lose…
When organizations promote you to a global role, they expect you to perform amazingly well and to drive the teams’ performance as well.
This is utmost humiliating to fail…
When organizations promote you to a global role, they typically embark your family in this adventure too, for great or worst.
This is utmost disappointing to collapse with the whole family…
The higher we climb the hierarchical ladder, the more expensive we could also become.
Hence the most vulnerable we are in times of downsizing.
The higher we climb the hierarchical ladder, the more ambiguity we could also encounter.
Hence the more risks we have to make a decision that proves the wrong one.
And reality proves we are even more exposed when we lead teams across cultures, when there is a premium for these complicated roles plus many more subtle nuances to grasp in international contexts.
What typically happens when global leaders fail?
Hence, what does typically happen to the leader when global teams do not meet expectations?
Unfortunately, pathetically simple: they get fired.
As people used to be dropped in the abyss from the Tarpeienne rock…
Often, they need to bring their family back to their home country without a job.
What will the child tell his classmate?
How does this impact the relationship with the spouse?
With the extended family?
Often, they experience a most severe drop in confidence.
What influence does it have on their next job search?
How to speak convincingly about this failure in an interview?
Influence your fate!
You do NOT want this to happen to you!
And you can prevent this to happen by raising your skills.
You need to raise your cultural awareness, especially on your teams’ cultures but this is not enough.
You also need to boost your emotional intelligence, which would start by assessing what your current level of emotional intelligence looks like from your point of view and also from your team members’ point of view.
You also need to shape your own authentic leadership style, find your Northern star to navigate ambiguity and stay steady, spot what truly motivates you and makes you resilient.
And you finally need to enhance your communication, especially in a setting where you have little opportunity if none to meet people face-to-face.
If you are ready to influence your fate, take responsibility for your lasting success,
let us explore how we can be at your side and shape this meaningful journey together.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marianne Dupuis, executive & leadership coach is an international success catalyst. She has guided more than 600 people towards lasting success in leading across cultures. This success comes from her ability to connect with leaders all over the world, to joyfully embrace cultural diversity and systematically leverage on human potential. Pragmatic and direct, simple and flexible, committed and caring are all ways people describe her. Yet, do not only trust them, just meet Marianne and test how her programs make a lasting difference for you too.