Cross-cultural communication is not only about what needs to be done or not done while working abroad, it is also about work in India. Look at today’s scenario where at the office you could have, as your neighbours, people belonging to different states, speaking a number of unfamiliar languages and belonging to diverse religions and cultures. How to overcome these differences and work together as a cohesive successful team is what cross cultural communication is all about.
All of us in India are familiar to being told, “Hamare mein…” followed by rules, customs, etc. One would imagine that what the “hum” does is the only way and the right way to deal with things. Anything else is wrong, unacceptable and deplorable. This is the attitude which makes a failure of us as team members. At work employees are recruited by the company for their skills, not because you like them. So you have a choice, either learn to work together harmoniously or leave.
It is, therefore, extremely necessary for you to develop the ability to adjust& adapt to and accept that differences will exist. Here are a few tips to help you improve your cross-cultural skills:
- Vive la difference: Accept the fact that we are different. Therein lies the magic of a team. We tend to look at others through lenses tinted by our own education, background, values and beliefs. Leave room for others. Avoid ethnocentricity. Focus on the individual.
- 2. Get off your high horse and stop being judgmental: Our minds, whether we like it or not, constantly assesses and evaluates what it perceives. The idea is: keep your perceptions to yourself. To insist that you are right is wrong.
- 3. Grey areas are good: Nobody anywhere ever will understand everything about another culture. Cultures are based on a huge number of variables: religion, language, food habits, gender, to name but a few. What makes people tick differs hugely from one to another. See the beauty in the differences and embrace them. It makes for a happier workplace.
A Management student today cannot foresee whether his or her work will take him to the Boston, Bengaluru or Burdwan. Learn to adjust and adapt. Enjoy the difference.