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During the 4 months we have lived in Asia, I have had ample opportunity to look, listen and learn from a new culture (ok, this is Singapore, so new cultures would probably be more appropriate). And as a Leadership coach, a lot of what I look at is the quality of leadership I see, hear and experience. And of course I compare it (looking for both difference AND similarity) to my experience working with highly successful people and organisations in South Africa.

So, what have I noticed …?

There are no doubt many differences, ranging from a non-compliant (how can I do things differently) outlook in SA versus a compliant (follow the rules at all cost) mindstate in Singapore, to a culture in Singapore that is extremely courteous, polite and harmonious as opposed to my beloved country’s passion and fire.  From a business perspective, one of the most interesting observations is how the Leadership Gaps differ.

I am well aware that what I am about to say is based on my personal experience, which may  be biased and generalised, and I would be delighted to hear contrary views or read some research on the issue, however here’s what I see …

Generally speaking, it appears that International / Global Organisations focus on talent. Heavy emphasis is placed on hiring people who have external evidence of their technical skills. I have seen little evidence to date of organisations’ developing their talent’s inner leadership game. The focus appears to be keeping the talent gap filled, and as a result an Inner Leadership Gap is exposed.

Conversely, locally based / home grown organisations appear to have a higher awareness of developing the inner game. Unlike their global counterparts, their Leadership Gap is often external – there are bigger gaps in their talent pipeline and external hiring is often the norm.

So, how does this affect you?

Well, we are all leaders. Yip. Every single one of us.

Whether you are the CEO of a multinational organisation who is acutely aware of developing talent, or a homemaker raising the next generation of family and community leaders or a solopreneur who needs to focus on inner leadership skills to create a bigger business, we all have gaps in our leadership profile.

So, as you read this article – ask yourself where your gaps are.

Are your gaps internal – do you have the ability and belief in yourself; do you have the drive and desire to lead? Do people follow you? Are you genuine and sincere? Do you have a solid sense of values and beliefs? Do you listen to your internal voice of authority?

Or are your gaps external – do you have the ability to envision and to motivate people?  Can you serve interests bigger than your own? Or does self preservation feature highly in your life? Will you sacrifice for the greater good?  Can you make the tough decisions and tell people the truth?  Do you innovate, and actively look for new opportunities?

As you discover where your gaps, be thankful for them – and then work on them to become more. If each of us improved the way we lead ourselves (and others), think what a difference we could make to our world.

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