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Each of the eight scales represents one key area that managers must be aware of, showing how cultures vary along a spectrum from one extreme to its opposite. The eight scales are:
“Leaders have always needed to understand human nature and personality differences to be successful in business--that's nothing new. What's new is the requirement for twenty-first century leaders to be prepared to understand a wider, richer array of work styles than ever before and to be able to determine what aspects of an interaction are simply a result of personality and which are a result of differences in cultural perspective.”
There are two types of reasoning we can use to persuade:
Erin Meyer’s Evaluating scale offers insights into how to give effective performance appraisals and negative feedback in different parts of the world. The spectrum goes from “direct negative feedback” to “indirect negative feedback”.
With direct negative feedback, the feedback is delivered to a colleague frankly, bluntly and honestly. Negative messages stand alone, not softened by positive ones. In contrast, when indirect negative feedback is provided it’s done in a soft, subtle and diplomatic manner.
Cultural patterns of behavior and belief frequently impact our perceptions (what we see), cognitions (what we think), and actions (what we do).
Many of the cultural differences—varying attitudes concerning when best to speak or stay quiet, the role of the leader in the room, and what kind of negative feedback is the most constructive—may seem small.
But if you are unaware of the differences and unarmed with strategies for managing them effectively, they can derail your team meetings, demotivate your employees, frustrate your foreign suppliers, and in dozens of other ways make it much more difficult to achieve your goals
The majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding of how culture is impacting their work. This is especially true as more and more of us communicate daily with people in other countries over virtual media.
When you live extensively in a foreign country, you pick up a lot of contextual cues that help you understand the culture of the people living there, and you decode communication and adapt accordingly. But when you exchange emails with an international counterpart in a country you haven’t spent time in, it is much easier to miss the cultural subtleties impacting the communication.
It is common, to work across cultures for decades and travel frequently for business while remaining unaware and uninformed about how culture impacts you. Millions of people work in global settings while viewing everything from their own cultural perspectives and assuming that all differences, controversy, and misunderstanding are rooted in personality.
This is not due to laziness. Many well-intentioned people don’t educate themselves about cultural differences because they believe that if they focus on individual differences, that will be enough.
“The way we are conditioned to see the world in our own culture seems so completely obvious and commonplace that it is difficult to image that another culture might do things differently. It is only when you start to identify what is typical in your culture but different from others, that you can begin to open a dialogue of sharing, learning, and ultimately understanding.”
“When interacting with someone from another culture, try to watch more, listen more, and speak less.”
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