Seeking Global Leadership

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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While human resource professionals across the globe consider leadership skills as a requirement for C-suite positions, those in fast-growing, emerging regions may not be able to demand such competencies.

Instead, organizations in areas such as Asia-Pacific may have to opt for candidates who have extensive experience in managing outsourcers until they can develop their internal bench strength.

Slightly more than half (53 percent) of Asia-Pacific-based respondents said leadership skills were the No. 1 factor in hiring, compared to nearly three-fourths (71 percent) of North American respondents and 61 percent of European respondents, according to a Right Management survey of more than 2,000 human resource executives, hiring managers and recruiters in 17 countries.

Leadership skills in the survey were defined as having a track record for driving business performance, cultural fit with the organization, creativity and innovation, as well as critical thinking skills.

Michael Haid, senior vice president of talent management at Philadelphia-based Right Management, says Asia-Pacific companies might regard those skills as very important, but, in reality, they have grown so fast over the past decade that there may not be many C-suite candidates with the kind of experience that has honed those skills.

As a result, in the near term, such companies "might have to look beyond their borders to hire a global project leader that has more experience analyzing different labor rates and all of the other factors it takes to operate in different countries," Haid says.

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Recruiters for multinational companies in Asia-Pacific should consider experience managing outsourcers from a remote distance, he says, as well as a demonstrated aptitude for strategic thinking.

It can be tricky, says Jackie Greaner, Atlanta-based Towers Watson's talent-management and organization-alignment practice leader for North America, to get a senior-level executive up to speed quickly, particularly if he or she has been promoted directly from a front-line supervisory position in a fast-growing company that previously had no middle-management positions.

"You can't just train people -- they have to have the actual experience that typically comes with all of these levels," Greaner says.

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