By Philip A Foster, MA
Understanding and developing attributes of global leadership are likely one of the clearest paths to success for leaders operating within a global context. Literature defines culture as a filter or lens by which we base decisions and actions (Mintzberg et al., 2005, p 169). Organizational expansion across cultural, political, economic and social boundaries creates certain obstacles and challenges which must be overcome by leaders today. Considering how we view the world is helpful when we begin to understand the world is viewed differently by others (Foster, 2012). Literature reveals many clues as to how leaders should view their organization. When a leader begins to adjust their filters and lenses to include other cultural attributes they view the system from a wider perspective and thereby become more of a global leader (Foster, 2012). Any attempt to force entry into another culture without adherence to laws, language, pace, politics, decisions making approaches and the cultures concepts of authority become detrimental to an ability to operate within the context of that environment (Branch, 2012).
A global leader is one who lives in the context of structural indeterminacy which states that no single structure is the answer when dealing with complex business models that must respond to cross-border business opportunities, demands for local citizenship, and cross-border/cross-business purchasing or technology efficiencies (Galbraith, 2000, p 2-3). The church in Crete was certainly a complex model of differing opinions, culture and religious thinking which required a clear mission and vision by its leadership.
When we consider Boissevain’s Taxonomy of Relation to Groups to analyze the Book of Titus we can begin to argue that the church in Crete was a “corporate group or body with a permanent existence; a collection of people recruited on recognized principles, with common interests and rules (norms) fixing rights and duties of the members in relation to one another and to these interests” (Robbins, 1996, p 101). The Apostle Paul would have understood that the Christian Church in Crete, as a corporate group, would present specific challenges to the leadership. As evidenced in Titus 1:5-9, Paul may have known that when he departed Crete a leadership vacuum might develop which could devastate the church (NASB, 2000, p 2147).
Titus 1:5-9 “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (NASB, 2000, p 2148).
Paul knew the church had grown dependent on him and his skill, style, and personality (NASB, 2000, p 2147). Such dependency could cause subordinates to flounder and even vie for control over the church once he departed (NASB, 2000, p 2147). Paul knew that he would not be there to continue to build, encourage, discipline and teach so he trained young pastors to assume leadership positions after he was gone. Global leaders should heed this example as to what could happen without proper training, mentoring and accountability of subordinate leaders.
Such a power play is evident in Titus 1:10 where Paul appears to understand diverging worldviews which create a filter of complexity within the church. He warns the leaders that some will try to preserve parts of their culture through what Sire (1997) called cultural relativism (p 87).
Titus 1:10 “For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision” (NASB, 2000, p 2149).
Such a worldview brought about confusion through the argument of circumcision, which caused disunity in the church. Understanding the given ideology of the corporate group in Crete, we can begin to make sense of the arguments of circumcision. Robbins (1996) argues that a person’s ideology provides certain presuppositions, dispositions, and values held in common with other people within a given group (p 95). Such ideology integrates a system of beliefs, assumptions, and values that reflect the needs and interests of the group (Robbins, 1996, p 96).
These presuppositions, dispositions and values many times made it difficult for the Apostles. Titus 1:11 Paul knew the ideology he was up against and therefore instructed the leaders to silence those who were preaching circumcision “because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain” (NASB, 2000, p 2149). A global leader is one who makes difficult decisions with care to explain his rationale and backs it with the authority and trust bestowed on him by his followers.
Attributes of Leadership
A global leader is one who maintains organizational ties both personally and professionally to validate the followers need to be valued and heard (Janiak, 2012). Developing a personal tie with someone requires trust and understanding. Trust is born out of specific attributes of leadership exemplified by the Apostle Paul in Titus 1:6-9. These attributes are beneficial to any organization.
Titus 1:6-9 “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative” (NASB, 2000, p 2148).
The attributes of a leader include: being above reproach, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, nor addicted to substances, nor fond of selfish gain (NASB, 2000, p 2148). Considering Titus 1:8, a global leader should be hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, and self-controlled (NASB, 2000, p 2149). One would note that most of these qualifications focus on character rather than knowledge or skill (NASB, 2000, p 2149). Leaders often find that they are closely watched and scrutinized. These personal attributes provide a window to one’s character and create qualifications that can be used to evaluate a person for a position of leadership within an organization (NASB, 2000, p 2149).
As Black, Morrison, and Gregersen (1999) argue, trust is a critical issue in global organizations (p 124). Trust is built in the followers when a global leader is subject to rulers, to authorities, obedient, ready to serve, maligns no one, is peaceable, gentle and showing consideration for all men and women (NASB, 2000, p 2151). Further a global leader should avoid foolish controversies, strife and disputes (NASB, 2000, p 2152).
Stagich (2001) argues that a leader’s success depends greatly on the more intrinsic, self-sustaining principles of synergy and how well we facilitate it to achieve goals (p 21). Culture remains complex because it is essentially composed of individual interpretations of the world and the activities and artifacts that reflect these interpretations (Mintzberg, et al., 2005, p 265). When interpreting how to connect with others we should develop relationships in advance of any business transactions (Foster, 2012). Zweifel (2003) argues that leaders must learn to respect cultural pathways (p 25) and must put themselves in the shoes of those in other cultures (p 26). A step toward connecting with other cultures relies on how well the leader develops an understanding of the culture for which they will operate (Foster, 2012). The Apostle Paul understood the cultural attributes of the church in Crete and would have developed a close enough relationship to have spoken on authority of what needed to be done. He would have further understood the dynamics of self-sustaining principles and would have sought to develop synergy focused on the achieving the goals of the Christian Church.
The Apostle Paul understood the need to empower those he placed in leadership position. When a leader empowers their followers, they clearly do not abdicate the role of leadership but simply allow their followers to operate within their giftedness and training with the organizations vision and purpose always in mind (Foster, 2012).
A global leader is one who is closely watched, scrutinized and evaluated by the culture in which they operate. A global leader must develop personal relationships and trust to best lead within the context of a differing culture. The Pauline attributes of leadership as presented in Titus are arguably universal keys to leading across cultural boundaries. While culture remains a complex issue and interpretations of the world will vary, one attribute seems to transcend all others; that of trust and understanding. The Apostle Paul was greatly trusted by those in Crete and his authority remained long after his physical departure. His ability to mentor and instruct his leaders from afar was a clear indication of the trust he had developed during his time there. A global leader, like Paul will develop this trust as well as the ability to develop synergy that facilitates the achievement of organizational goals.
Mintzberg, Henry; Ahlstrand, Bruce and Lampel, Joseph (2005). Strategy Safari. New York, NY: Free Press.
Foster, Philip (2012). Retrieved from his posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.
Branch, Chester (2012). Retrieved from his posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.
Galbraith, Jay R. (2000). Designing the Global Corporation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Robbins, Vernon K. (1996). Exploring the Texture of Texts. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International.
NASB (2000). Life Application Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Sire, James W. (1997). The Universe Next Door. Madison, WI: InterVarsity Press.
Janiak, Becca (2012). Retrieved from her posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.
Black, J. Stewart, Morrison, Allen J., Gregersen, Hal B. (1999). Global Explorers. The Next Generation of Leaders. New York, NY: Routledge.
Stagich, Timothy (2001). Collaborative Leadership and Global Transformation. Miami Beach, Florida: Global Leadership Resources.
Zweifel, Thomas D (2003). Culture Clash – Managing the Global High-Performance Team. New York, NY: SelectBooks.
Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.