Everyone wants to be a great leader, and as such, they read books, enroll in classes and engage in other similar measures to become that perfect leader. While these steps can all help teach people some of the critical leadership skills they need – ranging from conflict resolution to gaining influence – at the end of the day, it is the leader's responsibility to use these skills as they are needed. In that regard, there is no diagram – leadership is all relevant to the landscape.
The Huffington Post contributor Josh Bersin recently recognized the importance of adjusting leadership styles depending on where a business is located. All the core leadership skills are still important, but business leaders must be able to adapt them to what lies ahead.
Bersin noted the peculiar differences in leadership across different regions within Asia. He came to the conclusion that leaders in Asia must be sensitive to the different culture gaps within the continent and adjust appropriately. He contrasted some of the different leadership styles found within Asia:
- Anglo: These leaders tend to be visionary, decisive and passionate about what they do. They are quick to delegate authority, emphasize equality and encourage input when it comes to decision-making.
- Southern Asia: These leaders are team-oriented and look to be collaborative and diplomatic while striving to instill pride within their workers. There are humane, which means they are compassionate, generous and supportive above all else.
- Confucian: These leaders are more self-protective than other leaders, they are very status conscious and value safety and security. However, they are also highly team-oriented, much like leaders from Southern Asia.
However, even these three styles exist right now, they may change in the future. What works today in one region may not work elsewhere tomorrow. Each generation of employees is their own unique breed of workers, and they will have their own requirements as to what they expect from leaders
"Younger staff are the most culturally agile and that differences in style are going away as younger workers grow up," Bersin noted. "Most Asian countries (with the exception of Japan) are young, so the modernization of the talent pool is taking place rapidly."
The takeaway is that business leaders must be prepared to adjust their style depending on numerous conditions, ranging from where they are located to who they are leading. A style that works in one country, in one industry and at one company may not translate elsewhere.
A successful leader is not defined by the skills they have, but in how they deploy those skills to garner the best results within their organization. Leaders must always be adaptable to earn influence among their peers and successfully guide their companies or departments to achieve business goals.