Mixing the spices together in teams

Variety is the spice of life – however sometimes that ‘spice’ leads to a burning sensation!

When team diversity isn’t managed appropriately, the result can be a recipe for disharmony, isolation and disengagement.

The key is to consciously recognise the divergent cultural orientations within your team and make active plans to work with it.

Let’s look at an example.  If my cultural orientation is to have ‘fierce’ conversations that are direct and straight to the point, as a manager I risk offending someone from a cultural background that prioritises passivity, or that values harmony above conflict.  On the other hand, if I am ambiguous I may not be clear in communicating my expectations around tasks and outcomes.

Assessing the suitability of direct versus indirect communication styles is just one aspect of working in a multicultural environment. Others to consider include family commitments and the way people perceive time and money.  For more information, have a look at this free cultural orientation assessment.

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