Following the recent delivery of a 'Managing Multicultural Teams' open course, one of our participants from a Bournemouth-based international NGO offered to share her experience of the training. Below, she outlines key topics included in the training course, her key takeaways, and how the learning will be transferred back to the workplace.
What did the training cover?
The training was nicely structured but also informal at the same time allowing us (attendees) to ask as many questions and share our own experiences as we went along throughout the day. The training started by looking at the impact of culture on business and leadership. We explored the importance of cultural self-awareness and the way it ties in with managing multicultural teams. As part of this, we assessed our own cultural awareness, management, and working/communications styles.
Afterwards, we looked at the different levels of culture: the impact of corporate culture, national culture and individual culture. The session also examined team development and group processes - the influence of culture on the length of development stages of team development. Motivation, conflict resolution practices across cultures was also looked at as well as on how to give and receive feedback. Finally, we looked at the strategies for success – how to develop trust and build relationships with the team and create synergy within the team.
We had the opportunity to discuss and share our own values with the team. There were fun practical team-building exercises throughout the day, which enabled us to better understand how to manage and work well within a team - and most importantly, to experience what is written in the slides rather than just listening throughout the whole day.
What was your ‘aha’ moment (ie. your key takeaway)?
By looking at culture in-depth and understanding it throughout the training, I began to think in terms of 'the platinum rule'. Essentially, this means treating people in the way THEY would like to be treated – opposed to the famous saying which says you should 'treat others how you would want to be treated'. The emphasis throughout the training was on how THEY would want to be treated.
What will you apply back in your job?
I will take on board with me that it is critical to be open-minded to all various situations. Even though you are not necessarily accustomed to a cultural practice, it is essential to do the best possible to comprehend situations in a cultural context (especially during conflicts). With this, I think it is also important for me to take my learning in order to educate others through what I have learned throughout the training. Culture is something that is instilled in each of us from a young age, however, it can also be learned. It is therefore important to ask questions and dig deep. I've also learned that you shouldn't assume that everyone sees the world in the same way. I now have a better awareness of the fact that people approach the workplace and conversations from different viewpoints.
When it comes to working with people from different cultures, I can now make assumptions about their work preferences and amend my approach. For example, I work a lot with people from China. I now understand that I need to apply special questioning techniques when it comes to discussing progress due to the role of Mianzi!
Who would you recommend this course to?
I would recommend this training to anyone - as we live in a globalised world - which means understanding culture is essential. It's also a really valuable training course for individuals working within a diverse team. However, I think that it would especially benefit those working specifically in an international context, particularly those responsible for managing multicultural teams. This training could also be insightful for anyone who has not yet had experience working in an international background, however, is looking to work within an international organisation.
If you would like to join our next course, please visit the Managing Multicultural Teams course page for more information. For more generic cultural awareness training, click here.
We deliver our Managing Multicultural Teams and Cultural Awareness Training courses to businesses across the South West. Our specialist culture and business trainers deliver customised culture courses to businesses in Dorset, Somerset, Devon, Wiltshire, and Cornwall.