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Top 6 Tips for Successful Cross-Cultural Management

Mar 17

Many businesses and organizations today operate in multicultural settings. A leader must be able to manage cultural differences and communicate effectively while keeping the other person's cultural background in mind. We have rounded up our top tips for successful cross-cultural management to help you.

Tip #1. Be self-aware 


It's crucial to understand that, depending on what is typical for their culture, a person may react to various situations differently or unexpectedly. It's a good idea to look up how others with the same culture might respond to the same circumstance if you find any pattern in their behavior. Do not ignore patterns of behavior that, from your culture's point of view, may seem strange or illogical. Instead, pay attention to the pattern, make inquiries, or do your research. Understanding cultural differences is essential to comprehending human behavior and why people act as they do.

Tip #2. Notice the body language


Differences in body language are noticeable across cultures. The best example of this is in greetings. Handshakes, hugs, and kisses on the cheek are common in most western countries, but they may not be allowed in others. You need to be attentive to the different forms of body language, as this can help you avoid misunderstandings and possible conflicts. More often than not, body language can give you an idea of what the other person is trying to communicate.


Tip #3. Be adaptable


When you start to assume that everyone should adjust and adapt to your leadership style, this is when problems may arise. This is especially true if you have a multicultural team. Being adaptable does not mean you should forget about your culture, but it does mean that you should search for common ground or incorporate something that the other team members can also appreciate. For instance, in some cultures, it may appear rude if you go straight to business during meetings. You might want to set aside a few minutes before you start to talk with people informally.


Tip #4: Consider organizing team-building activities.


Team-building activities can be a great way to engage your team members, get to know them, and develop deeper relationships. These activities can be virtual or in person, and you could tailor your activities depending on the cultural composition of your team.

Tip #5. Encourage open communication


When you encourage open communication, you can build stronger bonds with the people on your team. This allows you to deeply understand them in different ways, including their cultures.

Tip #6. Handle any signs of cultural bias among your team members


Discrimination may consciously or unconsciously affect your team's decisions. As a leader, your goal is to reduce, if not eliminate, bias at your workplace. This way, everyone on your team, regardless of cultural background, will have equal opportunities.

Cross-cultural teams are a bit challenging to manage. Failure to consider diversity oftentimes results in frustration and conflict. With Change Works, we offer cross-cultural management training to better equip leaders in managing culturally diverse teams.