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. Let us look at the 7 winning ways to support this.
Discussing 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.
Using respectful language to ensure they are not making assumptions. We can do this by frequently checking to understand; then encouraging them to remain respectful of possible different language interference and world views.
Speaking from the Heart
When working cross-culturally we must speak from the heart and 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.
Putting Judgements Aside
Finding an open and trusting space where real insights emerge. These elements are even more essential when working with different team cultures and unconscious biases.
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.
Clear, Tolerant, and Flexible
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.
We consider the possible stressful elements of working remotely with teams who come from different cultural backgrounds. 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 in style and delivery then adapting our own preferred style accordingly.
When working with remote international teams – What other factors do we need to consider to get to winning ways?
- 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 on the 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 the basic Clean Language questions above for greater clarity
These 7 winning ways will enable leaders and coaches to support both individuals and teams in an increasingly remote and international environment.
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Experienced Professional ICF Executive Coach & CSA Dip Supervisor
Specialising in Cross-Cultural Understanding, Advanced Communication and Working with International teams
‘Coaching Skills for Leaders’ and ‘Coaching Supervision at its BEST’ Both ILM validated
Full Spectrum Supervision – Edna Murdoch & Jackie Arnold 2013
AWARDS: Executive Coaching
ECI & Exelerate