In one of the People and Business Management workshops that I facilitate we ask participants to outline how they would approach their first meeting as the manager of a multicultural team. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the imagination and inclusiveness of the responses.
This article in the Harvard Business Review provides useful guidance. Here’s an excerpt:
- Study up on the variations that exist among cultures and how those differences play out in the workplace
- Create protocols and establish norms so that your colleagues understand how meetings will run
- Incentivize colleagues to step outside their cultural comfort zones by institutionalizing rewards around what you’re trying to motivate people to do
- Be hung up on how people from certain cultures are supposed to act—remember, people are capable of adapting and adjusting their cultural default
- Force a perfect dynamic in meetings—solicit colleagues’ opinions in other venues and encourage people to provide feedback in different ways
- Overlook the importance of team bonding—encourage colleagues to get to know each other outside of meetings so that cultural differences won’t seem as glaring