A significant part of effective leadership is the close connection between the leader and the follower, which often determines the success of the leader’s mission. Unfortunately, this leader-follower relationship cannot be created according to some simple formula. Young leaders of today face special challenges as they try to communicate and interact with their followers and potential followers. By exploring global perspectives, human diversity, and ethics, young leaders can take yet another step forward in their development and preparation for twenty-first century leadership.
Globalization has many implications for leadership today and in the future. Global perspectives are being spread to the farthest points in the world and to the most isolated people. People of different cultures come to the United States daily to live, travel, or engage in business. Leaders must respond to this challenge of globalization so they can effectively reach out to as many people as possible. Opening themselves to the world’s changes allows leaders to compare and contrast their culture with the arts, language, beliefs, customs, philosophies, and ways of living of other people.
By observing and questioning another culture, leaders can understand the origin of an individual’s viewpoints and become more sensitive to the cultural needs of that individual. By continually exposing themselves to other cultures, young leaders can thoroughly develop this global perspective and devote themselves to making connections with the entire world. On a more individual level, openness to human diversity plays a role in adjusting to the changes of the future.
People are discovering that even within cultures, individuals come from diverse backgrounds, have different personalities, and prefer different ways of life. Young leaders can build a stronger relationship with their followers as they enhance their own appreciation for human diversity. As people become more diverse, leaders must learn how to communicate with them as individuals if a vision is to be shared, a cohesive group to be formed, and a goal to be achieved.
Despite differences in opinions, the leader and followers can work together to complement each other as they move toward the mission of the group. By exposing themselves to all kinds of situation and communicating with many types of people, young leaders can develop an appreciation of human diversity. Conflicts caused by differences among individuals’ personalities and cultures have created many ethical issues, and the number will only increase in this global society. Leaders may have an especially difficult time facing ethical issues as they inspire followers to their mission.
Globalization, human diversity, and ethical issues can be challenging for leaders as they prepare for the next twenty years and beyond. The changing world calls for leaders who will react openly to the introduction of new cultural identities and diversities and who will face ethical issues responsibly. Developing a leadership style in response to global awareness, diversity, and ethics will give young leaders an edge as they build relationships with people from all over the world.