Saturday, 19 November 2011

Making it work like clockwork.

The melting pot has gotten bigger and will only get even bigger as the world goes more global. We are no longer separated by oceans, seas and mountains thereby resulting in the change of nature of our workplace. An organization is no longer a monochromic make-up of employees from the same culture and neighbourhood but a rainbow coloured team of employees from all parts of the world.

It has then never been more important for an organization to have a common language but at the same time it is all the more elusive now.

There are many advantages to having a multicultural organization just as there are many pitfalls if not properly managed. Cultural Awareness is required for multicultural employees within to maximise their potential and productivity.

With a gradually growing diverse genetic make-up of employees comes an increased difference in cultures between the individual employees. Although cross cultural differences do not always cause obvious problems, it is their more subtle manifestations that can and will lead to a lack of clear communication and poor performance. Differences in cultures encompass more than just traditions and beliefs. A person’s cultural background impacts how he acts and behaves. Communication style, attitude towards conflict, approaches to task completion as well as decision making style is all affected by his cultural background.

In a cross cultural environment with conflicting ideals, attitudes and beliefs, there are too many situations where conflict can occur that will significantly lower productivity. Developing people skills for a multicultural workplace requires the emotional, cognitive and practical skills in combination.

Patience & Tolerance:
Even without adding multicultural to the equation an organization is already diverse in its own way with every individual having their own unique working style, beliefs and attitudes. Applying the same patience and tolerance to someone of a different culture easily soothes a difficult situation and turn a potentially rage into harmony.

It is one thing to listen for the sake of listening and listening with interest and committing it to memory. Everyone is busy with mounting amount of workload, practising active listening saves everyone’s time by eliminating the need for repetition. Active listening also ensures that the message sent out is not misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Broaden your minds:
We develop our personality at around the age of seven. Gradually, through experience, we get our beliefs, attitudes ideals etc. It is easy to live in our own bubble and ignore what we can’t comprehend but allowing in perspectives and ideas from someone outside our own culture could unknowingly lead to the missing piece of the puzzle. To grow, we have to break free of our mental chains to allow the influx of greater and more innovative flow of ideas.

Talk like a diplomat:
Like in high school, everyone has their own clique with their own lingo. In an organization, every single employee becomes one to ensure the survival of it. Effective professional communication occurs with mindful and respectful interaction.

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan

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