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Cross Cultural Management: 10 Simple Ways to Develop Your Skills


In today's globalized world, managing cultural diversity in the workplace is becoming increasingly important for businesses and organizations.

This is true not only for large multinationals with global offices but also for domestic businesses and organizations with employees worldwide.

With teams composed of individuals from different cultural backgrounds, it's crucial to understand how to effectively manage such a multicultural workforce.

Not only for efficiency and productivity reasons but more importantly for creating a sense of belonging and inclusion that retains and attracts talent.

Managing across cultures can be challenging, however, it’s also something that can be learned, practised, and perfected.

Here are 10 simple things you can do to kick-start your cross cultural management skills.

1. Understand cultural differences

It's important to acknowledge that different cultures have different values and ways of working. As a manager, take time to learn about your team members' cultures and how they might be similar or different to your own.

2. Foster open communication

Encourage open communication between yourself and team members, as well as between team members. Create a working environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns. This can help prevent misunderstandings and promote collaboration.

3. Develop your Cultural Intelligence (CQ)

As a manager, CQ is about having the awareness, strategies and solutions to adapt to the different cultural preferences of your employees, whether it be communication style, approach to time or understanding of rules.

4. Set clear team expectations

Set clear expectations for your team, regardless of their cultural background. Make sure everyone understands the goals and objectives, as well as their role in achieving them. As a manager, it’s also essential to express your own style and how you want the group to work.

5. Celebrate team diversity

To create a sense of belonging and inclusion it’s nice to celebrate the diversity of your team by acknowledging and appreciating certain dates, events or milestones. For example, religious holidays may be important for some of your team.

6. Provide team training

Teams need managing, and one way in which you can increase the cultural awareness of your employees and get them working together is to provide training. This can give people the space to discuss topics openly and create more cohesion.

7. Be inclusive in your thinking

Be flexible and adaptable to accommodate different practices, needs and even time zones. When planning meetings, events, policies and the like, consider the impact on various employees and how their cultures, identities or locations may cause issues.

8. Encourage feedback

Encouraging feedback from team members, in various ways and through different channels, is essential in assessing morale and performance. Feedback can help you identify areas for improvement and naturally promotes a more inclusive workplace.

9. Address conflict

Conflict is normal in teams and needs to be managed effectively. Addressing conflict in a timely, open and positive manner that ensures no party feels blame is a good way of creating dialogue around challenges that can lead to change.

10. Lead by example

If you want your team to behave and work in a certain way, you need to lead the way and show your team what that looks like. Demonstrate the values you expect them to express in the way they work as a team.

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Looking for guidance on how to manage cultural diversity?

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