Intercultural Management - Canada
Being a Manager in Canada
The business set up in Canada is egalitarian and to ensure successful cross cultural management it is important to remember to treat each and every person with equal respect and deference.
Intercultural adaptability relies on this understanding that in Canada there is a sense that all people in the organization have an important role to play and are valued for their input. Therefore, in this culture, managers won’t lose any respect consulting other employees over decisions.
Since Canada is a cultural mosaic where immigrants are encouraged to retain their ethnic heritage, the business behaviour you observe may vary dependent upon the cultural heritage of the person involved and intercultural adaptability is essential.
The Role of a Manager
Cross cultural communication will be more effective when working if you remember that the most productive managers in Canada recognize and value the specialized knowledge that employees at all levels bring. Employees expect to be consulted on decisions that affect them and the greater good of the organization.
Successful intercultural management will remember that the role of the leader is to harness the talents of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies. The leader will be deferred to as the final authority in any decisions that are made, but they do not dominate the discussion or generation of ideas. Praise should be given to the entire group as well as to individuals.
Approach to Change
Canada’s intercultural competence and readiness for change is high. Businesses in Canada have a high tolerance for risk and a ready acceptance for change. The underlying mindset is that change, while difficult, usually brings improvements and that hard work and innovation will bring a better tomorrow.
Risk-takers who fail are not deprived of future opportunities as failure is often perceived as a necessary step in the learning process.
When discussing plan implementations, Canadian managers will look for a proactive, success-oriented perspective with details about how to make the plan succeed. Without losing sight of the risk, managers are expected stay focused on the opportunity and the positive vision.
Approach to Time and Priorities
Canada is a controlled-time culture, and adherence to schedules is important and expected. In Canada missing a deadline is a sign of poor management and inefficiency, and will shake people’s confidence.
Since Canadians respect schedules and deadlines, it is not unusual for managers to expect people to work late and even give up weekends in order to meet target deadlines. Successful intercultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to meet deadlines.
Canada is an egalitarian society, which means that employees are free to express their opinions to their managers. In general, information flows in all directions and managers often seek the advice of others within the company who are technical experts. Managers often see themselves as facilitators whose job is to assist their subordinates in producing their best work.
In Quebec, which is more hierarchical, there is a greater respect for rank and authority and less discussion with employees prior to reaching a decision. However, in high-technology companies or more entrepreneurial companies, Quebec management style is similar to the rest of Canada.
Boss or Team Player?
In Canada, groups collaborate well together as teams. Members are generally chosen to participate based on tangible skills or the knowledge base they bring, and are equally welcome to contribute to any discussion that may arise.
The role of the leader is to harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Although personal relationships are not required to conduct business, expect some small talk before delving into the business discussions. Communication is generally direct and Canadians have no difficulty in saying no.
As a rule, French Canadians are proud of their culture and heritage. They take special pride in their language and speaking it well. If you do not speak French, it is a good idea to learn a few key phrases, since it demonstrates an interest in maintaining a long-term relationship.