A Multicultural Workforce: Communication and Trust

Diversity in the work place, when managed properly, is a great asset to the organization.
Yet, many times it’s an uphill battle, for the team as well as its leaders.
Why is that?
Maybe because we all are more comfortable being around people like ourselves.

Take people with pets, for example.
I have birds: Sunny and Flipper. My friends keep cats, dogs, or birds for pets.
And I love visiting with them.

But if you would have an unusual type of pet I may need some convincing to be around you (or your pet!).

That same feeling or reluctance, if you will, it’s felt when we find ourselves working with people of culturally diverse backgrounds.
Often we cannot relate to their upbringing and we struggle to understand their perspective.

Communication and Trust
One of the biggest barriers in a multicultural team is communication.
Accent and fluency will obviously make it difficult to communicate effectively.

But it’s much more complex than that: status, authority, and more.  How one feels about the community also plays a major role.

In a big city where many of its residents are coming from different parts of the world, getting integrated it’s somewhat easier.
In a small Midwest town feeling like one of the locals may be somewhat more challenging.

As the manager or the team leader, your job is to build an atmosphere of trust.
Trust will pave the way for the team members to understand and accept each other’s differences.

Yes, communication can be challenging, especially when cultural and language barriers are part of the equation.
It takes effort to make it work. And everyone needs to be involved. Create a positive, supporting work environment,  and your team will achieve great results.

Achieve great results and create something beautiful.  Jimmy Carter said, “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.”

/Comments/in Leadership,Multicultural Work Team/by Mariana Fieraru
Mariana Fieraru
Mariana Fieraru, an Eastern European transplant, fell in love with her new home shortly after landing in New York. She "discovered" pizza! Years later she still loves pizza. And so do her two feathered-kids, Sunny and Flipper

Mariana worked on both, the east and the west coast.
Big or small, each project she worked on helped define the importance of gaining and sustaining a competitive edge in an increasingly complex business environment.

Business know-how, love of teaching and writing – all combined in 2006 to form OBI.
Its mission: to make learning fun! And easy.

Through its training, consulting, and publications OBI builds bridges of knowledge to take you from where you are to
where you want to go. Using a mix of serious, informal, analytical, and optimistic approach, OBI truly makes learning fun.

Learn More
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