Imagine you have traveled to another culture and are invited to the home of a local businessperson. What are some of the key concepts of their culture you need to know that are important as you try to build a relationship with your host? When dinner is served, you have trouble recognizing what each item is served. Describe how you will handle this to not offend your host.
Building Relationships Across Cultures
Building relationships in teams is important in any business, being able to build them across cultures is imperative to the success of the team and organizations. There are a few key concepts that can be most helpful in this endeavor, and one of those is shared goals. If the team establishes their goals and has a shared commitment as Olsen (2010) stated. Establishing for the team a comfortable place to create team dimensions explains Cliff (2015), with be respectful and allowing people to make mistakes but having the foundation of communication, respect and safe place to make mistakes and ask for forgiveness is also key in cross-cultural teams and relationships.
When establishing these relationships and teams, another key is to not be defensive. As Tamm (2015) points out that sometimes to look better you might try to make others look bad, and a team that is doing this will not be productive. In collaboration you need environments that are not internally competitive, as they produce more defensive behaviors. The environment needs to be supportive, cooperative and focused on a team goal to be more productive. Having a common mission, and having a leader that encourages strengths, and looks for others to help with your opportunities so the team can be the best it can create this environment.
In the relationship building having transparent and open communication is also important. It allows for things to be shared and discussed so there is complete understanding, which can eliminate unnecessary anxiety. Being open to talk, and clear with expectations and even the why behind things allows the team to trust where you lead them. The leader that also recognizes, respects and embraces cultural and individual differences increases awareness and motivates the team to work together. Building the cross-cultural relationships is necessary in order to manage at the global level successfully. Building trust and partnering across any boundary insures a healthy team environment, and a more productive team overall.