As the world continues to become more like a global village, more and more companies continue to hire a multicultural workforce. This is why you’re more likely to move across the borders. The problem is not even surviving in a different country. The bigger challenge if you’re coming in as a manager is how to steer productivity regardless of the diversity. Here is a simple guide how to.
Know the Organization
You are going to learn a lot about the organization for you to succeed. Other than the individual cultures of your colleagues, you will also need to know the dominant culture in the organization. It’s not enough to learn the different aspects of the same. You’ll need to know how the different cultures influence each other and why one of them is more dominant. Ask how Eurocentric it is.
While there are several benefits that come with diversity, it encourages competition, which often leads to an individualistic attitude. As a leader in such a place of work, one of the first things you are going to desire is an inclusive workplace with a ‘we’ attitude. It’s common knowledge. Even though it is necessary to have very talented workers, you need them working together to succeed.
Respect For Colleagues
It’s very common to find some colleagues looked down upon by fellows of a dominant culture in a multicultural workplace. It is possible that even you as the manager may be looked down upon by either your seniors in the management or juniors in the organization. Nothing kills confidence and motivation more than this,therefore, you are going to have to inspire respect among the staff.
Perhaps you are coming from a more conservative culture where junior workers hardly disagree with their seniors in public. You may be shocked to find that this is not the case in multicultural places of work where employees often challenge decisions made by their seniors. It would help to create open communication channels that make it easy to air frustrations and share thoughts.
Generosity is a desirable leadership trait in most cultures. It’s often associated with integrity. It’s also a subtle way to gain respect among your colleagues. It can be expressed in various forms. It could be financial support for some colleagues, helping out with assignments once you are done with your own, sponsoring a lunch out or dinner, or a bonus once in a while for good work done.
Generosity, however, is often misinterpreted. You need to be cautious using it as a strategy. Some colleagues may not see it as the genuine gesture you intend. It does not need to have any strings attached to it. You also don’t need to take everyone out though, just pick a few agreeable people.
The other desirable leadership trait in multicultural workplaces is giving feedback. It’s human to recognize good performance. It’s also human to appreciate others for their good work. It’s also a good way to inspire proper work ethic and to show everyone else regardless of their background valuable behavior. Through recognitions you develop and place emphasis the workplace culture.
Create a Family
Besides heading different projects and or departments, you’re likely to be leading different teams with individuals of diverse personal attributes and cultural beliefs. Conflict is a common portion of such diversity, sometimes based on very flimsy differences. As a leader, it’s upon you to build a family-like-bond in your teams such that conflicts are solved quietly and work is done together.
Bridge Culture Gap
One of the things that would most likely hinder your performance is language barrier. It could be worse with a lack of technical skills. While you take evening or weekend classes to enhance your performance, you could encourage and or support your colleagues to do the same. It’s one way to bridge the gap between individual cultures when employees have a sense of common knowledge.
People of certain origin, especially Africans, are often seen as less knowledgeable. While it’s not necessarily the truth, skills development classes can help eliminate biases and boost confidence.
As part of an effective leadership strategy, you’ll need to communicate the company vision. This way you eliminate undesirable traits and biases that come as a result of lack of the same. A good vision comes with an effective plan. When you have everything figured out, little time is left for cultural biases and or bullying. The vision could as well dictate valuable qualities. It’s your duty.
Also keep in mind that for you to succeed as a leader in a multicultural work environment, you’ll need to know each staff member. Strive to know each of them by their strengths and weaknesses, not by their cultural biases. Avoid cultural stereotypes and general assumptions. Finally, it would help to develop deeper working relationship with your colleagues. This way you’ll know the best way to communicate with, motivate and challenge every team member to be the best they can be.