Coaching and employee engagement
August 24, 2017
7 tips for increasing organizational diversity
August 24, 2017

What are the 7 winning ways when working in an international environment and how can we embrace them?

As business leaders and coaches we are working in an increasingly remote and multicultural environment. It is therefore necessary to reflect on and voice, cultural bias and possible misconceptions early on in any relationship.

The first winning way is to discussing openly about both differences and similarities. This will help build trust and bridge the gaps in both knowledge and understanding.  It will increase confidence and create an atmosphere of collaboration.

The second winning way is to show the teams we support how to use respectful language and to ensure they are not making assumptions. We can do this by frequently checking understanding; then encouraging them to remain respectful of possible different language interference and world views.

Third one of the most powerful winning ways when working cross culturally is to speak from the heart and to stay truly present and authentic.  In the multi-national teams I support, we focus on the positive energy we bring to our interactions and how deep listening and speaking from the heart is so essential.

Forth we consider how putting judgements aside and taking time to prepare ourselves for meetings is crucial to greater understanding. Finding an open and trusting space where real insights emerge.  These elements are even more essential when working with different team cultures and unconscious bias.

The fifth winning way I use when setting up for remote international team meetings is to share David Grove’s coaching technique called Clean Language (See “Coaching Skills for Leaders in the Workplace” Chapter 11) this ensures misunderstandings are kept to a minimum. It is amazing how many assumptions we make on a daily basis and this methodology helps to remove them. (pg 136) it is highly respectful and enables teams to bring greater clarity to their communications.

The sixth winning way when considering the pitfalls of remote leadership with international teams we discuss how to be clear, tolerant and flexible yet still able to meet expectations.  Reminding ourselves that some cultures may value greater reflection and need more time for decision making.

Seventh we consider the possible stressful elements of working remotely with teams who come from a different cultural background.  To be mindful of the confusion caused by jargon and the different forms of communication, such as email, Zoom and skype.  Noticing and respecting differences of style and delivery then adapting our own preferred style accordingly.

Taking these 7 winning ways into account when working with remote international teams what factors do we need to consider?

  • Always help them to start the relationship by sharing what unconscious bias they bring to the table – be a role model and share yours
  • Inquire openly about possible personal baggage, conflict or assumptions
  • Find out about what may not be culturally obvious or spoken about and share it
  • When communicating agree timing, boundaries and consider cultural norms that may affect the meetings
  • Coach them to start from a place of acceptance and tolerance
  • Ask them: ”What needs to happen for us to trust and work well together?”
  • Then ask: “Is there anything else?” & “What kind of xxx is that?” & “And when you xxx then what happens?”
  • Remind them we are all unique and doing the best we can under the circumstances
  • Get them to consider how their own cultural experiences and ways of being could affect the relationship
  • Encourage the use of basic Clean Language questions above for greater clarity

All the above

plus the 7 winning ways will enable leaders and coaches to support both individuals and teams in an increasingly remote and international environment.