Doing Business Globally
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Doing Business Globally

To be effective influencers, leaders must take stock of the subtle messages being passed around the globally diverse team table.

In international teams with diverse perspectives and unique views, your managers must know how to interpret communication accurately. Can they discern the spoken and unspoken signals? Can they read the subtle and not so subtle cues and clues effectively?

Managers should familiarize themselves with the variations that exist among cultures, but not get tripped up expecting everyone to behave and communicate as the literature predicts. Every person comes to the team table, not only with the influences of their culture, but with their past experiences, unique personality, gender norms, and an organizational context — all of which influence how they communicate.

One of the biggest cultural differences is the degree to which open debate and disagreement are viewed. Certain cultures value cooperation and harmony in their relationships. Other cultures care more about directness and honesty. Neither style is better, however, when you are in a diverse team.

I’ve said that “leadership is talking,” and when leaders manage a culturally diverse team, they must take charge of their own communication preferences. Here are 4 ways your leaders can adapt their conversation style starting today.

  1. Know your style. Knowing which conversational style you gravitate toward will help you make a conscious choice to adapt.
  2. Use up-graders. Up-graders are words that strengthen — absolutely, totally, strongly. These words help you deal with people who prefer the more direct approach to communication.
  3. Use down-graders. Down-graders soften — kind of, a little, maybe, slightly. They work better with people who tend towards avoiding conflict.
  4. Experiment. As you work with your team, get to know each other outside of work so that, through familiarity, cultural differences become less of a big deal.

Equip your managers and teams with the skills necessary to manage the cultural environment with our Doing Business Globally Workshop. Better yet, let’s talk about how we can customize our services to support your exact needs and specific cultural environment.

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Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.