On Tuesday, 21st May, we were proud to host the “Leading Multicultural Teams” seminar, part of the “Leadership in Focus Forum” series, which was led by Mr. David Solomons from International House. As revealed at our Launch Event in May, this event is the first of a series of sessions which will focus on honing leadershi skills for global businesses.
Attendees enjoyed this revealing seminar about cross-cultural communication and how to deal with diversity within an international team. Mr. Solomons started by pointing out that everything in people’s behavior is relative and depends on their background and culture.
As he said, “statistically we have more negative judgments on individuals than positive ones” when we observe people around us. We tend to think that what we believe is right, and what others believe is wrong, which can lead to misunderstandings and there can be a real problem when each person’s belief conflicts with others’ opinions.
For this reason, the first step to efficient communication is to be open minded and receptive. By using Mr. Solomons key tip of being interested in others it is possible to avoid most judgments that are unfair and improper. Instead of assessing people immediately, we must take some time in understanding their situations and core values, which is essential when speaking about multicultural teams.
We come from a wide range of backgrounds and have different beliefs based on our education, nationality and attitude to life, amongst other factors. Good leaders should first understand their team-members’ points of view before expressing themselves. In order to achieve this, they must show an interest in everyone, and not only about their hobbies or personal interests. They should also do some research on their religion, history and characteristics about their countries of origin.
In doing that, we can then use the second piece of advice Mr. Solomons gave us and build a human relationship. According to his words, “the more we know about the individuals, the best results we get from them”. If leaders are not interested in their teams they will find resistance instead of cooperation, as our speaker highlighted.
Attendees also had the opportunity to take part in a practical exercise to understand their own cultural preferences and communication style to discover how to adapt better to others and overcome cross-cultural communications misunderstandings. After this training, all guests could enjoy a productive networking breakfast while sharing thoughts and discussing further all the ideas covered in the talk.
If this seminar has appealed to you, do not miss the second session of the Leadership in Focus Forum, “Presenting with Impact” in collaboration with Avocets Consulting. It will take place on 20th June and you can find more information about it in the Upcoming Events section on our website!