What Is Leadership Reach?

Leadership reach is one of the five TOP leadership competencies emerging as having future primacy.

There are basically four formative conversations that take place at work: 1) tell and listen; 2) tell and sell; 3) shared problem solving; and 4) coaching (where the way forward lies with the coachee). Leadership reach embraces mastery in each of these situations. It also describes a leader who approaches each new challenge with a beginner's mind … equipped with a rich toolbox of processes, models, ideas and innovative ways forward.

Leadership reach means having a global mindset. It also implies interpreting how local political and social norms/policies shape the business options. Finland doesn't really have a word for collaboration. Teamwork in South Korea is a very different proposition from teamwork in South Wales. If you don't appreciate the humour in Australia, you will always be on the outside looking in. Roads in Iceland are designed not to upset the elves. To a visitor they look somewhat the same but Canadian business is way more collegiate than its big cousin to the south. And candour in Holland has an openness and edge to it that shocks those used to a less confrontational culture.

A leader who displays leadership reach enters the prevailing context with elegant ease. Be it turning around a very traditional, hierarchical business, moving a highly engaged team to the next level, working with gig employees, and/or successfully collaborating with a business that operates in virtual space … leadership reach is to quickly understand how to make a difference.

In a similar vein, a start-up in Singapore, an overly aggressive trade union in Australia, a turnaround in Turkey and/or an innovation challenge in India … all sit comfortably on this leader's shoulders.

And the difference that makes a difference: Provide international experience early, make "customer-centric" a way of life, don't trap high performers within functional silos and don't come to the rescue too quickly when testing the character, commitment and performance ethos of those you deem "high potential".

Insights from "Tomorrow's Leadership Will Be Different".