High-level leadership

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 April, 2011, 12:00am


The continuing trend towards globalisation continues to present new and increasingly complex challenges for leaders of business, government, environmental and community-focused organisations.

'Great leaders are found in all types of organisations and at different levels of management. Great leaders are not only found in big multinational companies. In fact, some of them can be lousy leaders,' explains Professor Huang Xu, DBA programme director and head of the department of management and marketing at the Polytechnic University.

'Leaders of today need to be very adaptive in the ways in which they handle different social contexts. They need to possess a high level of cross-cultural competence and sensitivity in their dealings with international business associates. They also need to possess a broad understanding of the different leadership styles that exist and the contexts in which they are best utilised.

'Managers of companies need to be prepared to adopt different leadership styles that suit the business environment they face. Many students from the mainland and Hong Kong, in particular, still regard an authoritarian and sometimes abusive leadership style as necessary to drive performance.'

However, Huang points out that in a study, conducted by one of his students into the leadership styles recommended by managers of companies operating in 112 counties of a province on the mainland, it was found that an authoritarian form of leadership only worked in the poorer business environments.

In the wealthier and more competitive environments, employees needed to be able to work more autonomously and be free to express their creativity in order to drive growth for their employers.

So a more participative leadership style is more effective in this context.