If you are lucky enough to work with a team from many cultures, you already know the benefits. The different perspectives on solving problems, the mindset. It really is exciting to watch this in action. It’s the mind of the world working together to find solutions. And if you happen to be the manager, you are in a position to enhance this experience for everyone. Here are some tips for managers of multi-cultural team.
Part of the fun of working in a multi-cultural team is the exposure to different cultures. Many have to travel to other parts of the world in order to experience how other cultures live. And here you are, not even leaving your city, with the world brought to you!
Since you are the manager, you can make use of this opportunity by organizing social events. Many cultures are more group-oriented and less individual-oriented. Have potlucks. Or cater lunches. Play sports together.
By doing these activities, you help the group feel more bonded. And this spills into work. It is easier to work together with those you have fun with. So use this social need to create a fun team atmosphere.
If you have a team of mostly Americans and a few individuals from other cultures, then think about the following. Children who grew up in the U.S. are used to “show and tell” in class. They are used to class discussions. Well, this is not the case in many cultures. So they may not have practice in joining in group discussions.
But don’t worry, this skill can be learned. The article How to learn discussion skills goes into depth on this topic.
Another factor is English fluency. Their American co-workers may speak fast. If they miss a point, then they can’t join in. But not to worry. You can ask the Americans in that group to speak slower during meetings. And you can also share the blog Tips for understanding fast English speakers with those international colleagues.
There are more ways to improve participation in group discussions in the article How to facilitate meetings with international colleagues.
I hope some of these ideas will help your multi-cultural team have even better work relationships and more fun with each other.
Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email email@example.com