7 global leadership skills you need to excel in business

21st November 2022
A business leader at their desk talking with a colleague.
A business leader at their desk talking with a colleague.
A business leader at their desk talking with a colleague.

Historically, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) has been considered a solid choice for business professionals wanting to increase their earning potential. But is an MBA worth it today?

The answer is yes — as long as you select an MBA that teaches the skills you’ll need to excel in a contemporary business setting. From big-picture thinking to technology management, global leadership skills have become a must-have for anyone looking to expand their business across borders or gain a competitive advantage on home soil.

If you’re ready to begin your MBA journey, our MBA Global will give you the skills you need to succeed in a global market.

Why businesses expand globally

Australia is one of the world’s most globalised countries. Our network of 16 free-trade agreements and close proximity to thriving markets across Asia-Pacific provides a competitive edge, especially in goods and services.

In 2020, total two-way trade amounted to a robust AU$789 billion, with our total value of merchandise exports reaching a record high of AU$382 billion in 2022.

We’re also an attractive destination for foreign investment, with foreign investment stock equating to AU$4 trillion as of 2021.

Increasing globalisation is opening up valuable opportunities for business growth and profitability. Broader talent pools, more resources and higher returns on investment are now available for businesses that choose to expand.

But to access these benefits, business leaders must have the right tools and knowledge to navigate the challenges of globalisation, such as increased competition and cross-culture communication.

Essential skills for business world leadership

The interconnectedness of today’s economies means leadership in business requires a new level of commercial and analytical acumen. Local businesses of all sizes are impacted by global activities, so leaders must have the skills and knowledge to take strategic action in response to overseas trends.

According to contemporary business leaders, the following seven skills are indispensable for corporate professionals looking to make their mark.

1. The ability to navigate international markets

Modern leaders must be able to apply best-practice operations, management and marketing principles in a multinational environment. This includes knowing how to benefit from evolving government initiatives for economic development.

On top of this, leaders should be able to adapt to fast-changing market conditions with efficiency and agility.

“Changes are happening faster than ever,” says Greg Mallam, managing partner of Moore Australia. “Business leaders who are excelling demonstrate the ability to get comfortable with change quickly in order to remain relevant and meet customer demand.”

2. Strong communication

Good communication skills have always been vital for effective leadership. But their importance is even greater now that communication modes have evolved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital technology helps us connect easily with stakeholders all over the world, but it’s not without its challenges.

“Now that virtual meeting technologies have been bedded in, doing business in a global market has become easier than ever,” explains Doriena Parsons, national head of Strategic Communication at Moore Australia.

“However, these technologies come with a new set of communication skills and requirements. Reading body language and gauging the atmosphere of a room has become more difficult, and maintaining an engaged meeting is also more challenging.”

Leaders must be able to accurately convey sophisticated information, ideas and arguments to a diverse audience through a range of platforms. This includes having an understanding of the different communication styles they may encounter in a multinational setting.

3. Emotional intelligence

Similar to communication skills, emotional intelligence is about understanding the working styles of others, as well as your own. Improving your emotional intelligence can help you lead and manage teams more effectively, which is especially vital in complex multinational environments.

“If you’re working with a team of people from different countries, you need to be able to understand their communication styles, work habits and values,” says Peter Monkhouse, founder and managing director of ICL SA.

Being attentive to their staff and stakeholders’ behaviours makes them feel heard, involved and understood, which is critical for building strong, productive working relationships.

Building your emotional intelligence as a leader involves learning a range of theories across sociology, psychology and organisational science, and then applying them in a practical context.

4. Business innovation

To drive commercial success, leaders must be prepared to adapt business processes and models in response to shifting market conditions and global trends. New technologies can help leaders find solutions to emerging challenges as their organisation expands, but a strategic approach is imperative.

“A constant remit to innovate ensures businesses are proactive as opposed to reactive in this evolving environment,” Mallam says. “Adopting technologies as a part of your journey will help automate business processes and create systematic ways of working. This will ensure your business has scalability locally, nationally and internationally.”

A global mindset also enables leaders to identify and capture market opportunities other firms may have missed.

5. Technology management

According to Colonist.io founder Demi Yilmaz, globalisation has led to a greater need for technical competency among business leaders.

“With the rise of the internet and social media, businesses now have a global reach,” he says. “This means that leaders need to be able to use digital tools to communicate with their customers and partners all over the world. They also need to be able to understand and use technology to improve their operations.”

Good leaders bring discipline to their organisations’ approach to technology investment and management. This enables them to design responses to the marketplace that are both creative and strategic.

6. Business consulting

According to David Tomasi, chairman for Moore Australia and member of the Moore Global Board, the field of business advisory is changing rapidly in response to technological development.

“Technology is having a noted impact on what our clients and stakeholders expect from us as a trusted advisor and service provider,” he says. “They expect us to be familiar with and aware of [new] technologies and how they impact regulatory frameworks, as well as the day-to-day operations of their business.”

Leaders in all types of businesses must be aware of the latest consulting standards and techniques: it enables consultants to do their best work and helps businesses maximise the value of their investment in consultancy services.

It’s important to understand what world-class consultancy looks like from various angles, including the design, research and management aspects of a consulting project.

7. Data analytics and decision modelling

Leaders can use data to predict trends, identify patterns and understand relationships, but only if they know how to transform the data into meaningful information. They can also pair these business insights with decision-making tools to devise practical solutions for problems their organisation may be encountering.

“Leaders may need to use data analytics to make better decisions,” Yilmaz says. “Those who are not competent in [this area] will find it difficult to compete in the global marketplace.”

In short, the ability to interpret data and use it to inform decision-making has become one of the most vital skills to succeed in business.

Advance your career with an MBA Global

These skill and others form part of JCU’s MBA Global. With a focus on global leadership skills, JCU’s MBA Global will allow you to embrace a range of promising job opportunities for MBA graduates.

As an MBA Global student, you’ll learn to apply proven management theories in diverse corporate contexts to support business success anywhere in the world. You’ll also learn a range of contemporary theories that have international relevance and are proven to benefit local businesses of any size.

Analytical skills form an important part of the course, so you’ll learn to leverage the power of data and make strategic, evidence-based decisions. In fact, JCU’s MBA Global offers the most data analytics subjects of any online MBA in Australia.

Upon completion, you’ll have a formal JCU business qualification to your name, plus an impressive portfolio that showcases your ability to apply innovative, big-picture thinking in a leadership role.

Start learning world-class leadership skills

JCU’s MBA Global gives you the the range of perspectives needed to lead with confidence, wherever your career takes you.

To find out more about how an MBA Global can help you achieve your goals, contact our Student Enrolment Advisors.


Find out more about JCU’s online MBA Global.

Get in touch with our Enrolment team on 1300 535 919

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