We are increasingly involved in designing and implementing 360 feedback assessments for organisations that want to use the 360 feedback not only across EMEA but also globally. Organisations require leaders to lead internationally, connecting with teams in their home countries and working in culturally diverse workforces. In order to be effective certain competencies or capabilities become critical for effectiveness. Organisations need to consider these behaviours and include them in the 360 feedback behavioural item questions used to grow leadership talent.

An interesting article by Clodagh O’Reilly (for the full article see her LinkedIn blog) makes clear some of the leadership constraints across culture. We have included some extracts from her article below.

When employees report they follow effective leaders, the average employee engagement score is 91% – compared to 17% for employees who report neutral or ineffective leaders (SWI, 2011).
The impact this can have on organisational performance is significant. Organisations scoring in the top 25% of leadership effectiveness realized a 5.7 times greater diluted earnings per share (a measure of company profit) in the following year than organisations scoring in the bottom 25% (SWI, 2011).
The impact this can have on organisational performance is significant. Organisations scoring in the top 25% of leadership effectiveness realized a 5.7 times greater diluted earnings per share (a measure of company profit) in the following year than organisations scoring in the bottom 25% (SWI, 2011). Read more
Clearly, whilst ‘effectiveness’ has some absolute measures, it crucially has some that are culturally determined. These cultural determinants can be both national/geographical and also organisational, in particular as displayed by sub-cultures, i.e. those that apply to individual operating divisions or silos.

Leadership themes that are common across cultures – engaging diverse teams
When asked this question: “What is the most important thing you want from your employer?”, research shows people respond similarly across different countries, industries and job roles. This is heartening news as leaders who have been effective in engaging employees in one geography or from a particular cultural group, could likely engage employees in other geographies/groups as well.
However, the behaviours required to effectively engage individuals are not consistently observed in leaders; many leaders may need support to learn to how to display these.
The requirements of leaders who wish to motivate employees to perform at their highest levels are shared below:
Recognition. Employees want ‘a pat on the back’ and they want their views to count. Essentially, they want to be recognised and appreciated as valued team members – particularly by the person who should be most familiar with their work: their line manager.
Exciting work. Employees want a job that’s challenging, interesting, and fun. They want a sense of accomplishment, and they want to feel the time they’ve spent at work has been worthwhile.
Security of employment. Employees want job security. They want to feel confident about their organisation’s future, and they want stability and steady work so they can meet their financial obligations.
Pay. Employees want to be compensated fairly for the work they do and the contribution they make (through base pay, bonuses, and benefits). The important word here is fair. We all want to feel that we are being treated fairly and that our performance is evaluated on merit.
Education and career growth. Employees want to be given opportunities to develop their skills and to advance their career. 360 feedback when used well and with a 360 report that shows strengths and gaps can help employees direct their career.
Conditions. We don’t work in a vacuum; what happens around us matters. Employees want a well-equipped environment that is comfortable, healthy, and safe.
Truth. Finally, employees want to be told the truth. They want to work for honest and transparent managers who act with integrity and who communicate openly and directly.​
Behaviours associated with High Performing Leaders that contribute to employee engagement, that are generally well developed in executive populations are:
Building confidence. Personally building others’ confidence of one’s capacity to succeed and create a successful team, business unit or organisation; creating a positive, optimistic and enthusiastic atmosphere.
Communicating effectively. Communicating convincingly and with vitality; building communication strategies to present clearly and concisely for all audiences at all levels internally and externally.
The behaviours that are commonly under-developed in many executive populations, which contribute to employee engagement and correlate with intercultural sensitivity, are:
Influencing people. Forming supportive alliances, working with others to ensure practical support for necessary change or resource in their team, unit or organisation.

Developing talent. Taking personal responsibility for supporting and developing others by acting as a mentor, coach, or trainer, modelling effective behaviour, getting others to practice this behaviour and using constructive feedback to enhance their capabilities.
Fostering collaboration. Facilitating dialogue between team members and teams, business units and across divisions to utilise the full potential of the wider organisation to create solutions and achieve outcomes.
Establishing trust. Accounting for others’ needs and views and validating own understanding of another’s ideas, feelings or beliefs; enables others to do the same.​
​Research indicates that certain practical differences apply to the skills required for Leaders to operate effectively in certain territories for example:
A highly operational focus will be more appropriate for leaders working in markets that are emerging and/or developing at pace (e.g. India), where getting products to market quickly will be more important than longer-term strategic planning. Often it will be necessary for leaders to be directive and ‘commanding’. In Nordic markets, however, where organizations have flatter structures, communication skills and influencing skills are of particular importance for a leader.
The good news is that all these behaviours can be developed with the appropriate focus, practice and feedback that 360 feedback affords. The value of the QOPD strengths and gaps 360 survey is that it identifies to what extent the leader is currently using these crucial behaviours and also captures to what extent others would like them to be used. This enables participants to target their development accurately and hone the specific skills that will make them more effective. To discuss ways of developing and implementing a culturally sensitive 360 feedback process contact us