Productively leading an organization requires the ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact varying cultural beliefs and schedules. Why is cross-cultural competence critical to your professional future and the viability of your company? It’s omnipresent in every business interaction and strategic decision. While there are myriad cultural variations, here are some essential to the workplace:
Communication: There are many meanings and expressions in every word from various backgrounds. Therefore employees must be careful when it comes to the choice of words and how they are dealing with their coworkers. Each employee has differences when it comes to social issues, political issues spiritual biases and other conversations. The greatest challenge for employees is that they must find a common communicating ground with the people around them. Other examples include people from different cultures vary in how, for example, they relate to bad news. People from some Asian cultures are reluctant to give supervisors bad news - while those from other cultures may exaggerate it.
Trust: Trust between the members is an important part of any successful team, but for some cultures, trust takes time to build.. For example, in China, Latin American or Arab countries, people often need to build trust on a personal level (discussing family, sports, politics) before they are willing to conduct business. Americans, on the other hand, often tend to trust their work colleagues and are willing to discuss business matters, as soon as they are introduced.
Time Management: E. T. Hall, a pioneer in the study of cross-cultural management, identified two types of cultures: monochromic, or those who perceive time as something linear and manageable; and polychronic, whose concept of time is more ethereal and all-enveloping and, as a result, difficult to control. Those fitting the first type tend to do one thing at a time and concentrate fully on the task at hand. Those from a polychronic culture tend to do several things at once, are easily distracted and, in general, more committed to people than to the job itself.
Holidays: One way to make sure that your organization's holiday plans meet the needs of your multicultural staff is to recruit a team of employee representatives to help lead the planning process. By bringing together team members who represent an array of faiths, ethnicities, and cultural traditions, you'll stand a much better chance of forging a holiday observance plan that's truly inclusive.