We've included a handful of skills and attitudes necessary for successfully working and managing across cultures.
What would you add?
The ability to build trust across cultural barriers is vital, especially when some of the behaviors that we regard as evidence of trustworthiness may be interpreted as signs of unreliability in another environment. (Example: the sharing of confidential information among close associates may be regarded either as a means of building trust or as a sign of un-trustworthiness.)
The members of a multicultural group must develop behaviorally encoded forms of respect that are practiced by each participant. (Examples: asking for input from each participant; waiting for others to finish their thoughts.)
The challenge for managers in a multicultural environment is to listen for what they do not expect to hear. Can you deal with new information that is beyond the range of your normal common sense assumptions? (Example: markets where advertising is a new concept and “customers” have not normally been seen as important.)
In certain cultural contexts what is not said is more important than the literal content of the discussion. (Examples: forms of dress, subtle gestures, the rich shades and flavors of silence.)
Being able to sense and respond to the feelings of your foreign counterparts, while vitally important, can also be very difficult because the cues are unfamiliar. (Examples: the smile that could signal discomfort, or exaggerated emotional displays that are calculated to probe for concessions.)
Caterpillar Spirit’s workshops, trainings and coaching programs provide valuable strategies, tips and support to manage the challenges mentioned above.
If you're experiencing some of these challenges and looking for support, contact us to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you.