Successful multicultural management
A few days ago, I had lunch with a friend who works for a well known Fortune 500 organization here in Cincinnati. He’s been successful as a leader over the course of his career, which has included experiences on the international stage. During our discussion, we talked about a number of topics, including my on-going efforts of working with employers to increase their awareness and understanding of Hispanics in the workplace. I also mentioned the efforts I’ve made in sharing my thoughts through Intern Matters, my blog, and other social media platforms. Since my friend has extensive experience working in multicultural settings, I asked him to share his perspectives on successful management techniques in this regard. Ironically, most of his advice didn’t involve developing policies or guidelines; they focused on basic and personal efforts a manager can follow. Below are some principles he proposed and has employed:
1) Successful Managers Learn about Culture: Successful managers make a concerted effort to understand and learn about their employees’ culture. By understanding their culture, managers can use more effective motivational strategies and supervisory techniques. This process can just range from simply asking the employee questions to doing some basic research on theInternet. From his experience, my friend noted this minor investment of time can provide major returns.
2) Successful Managers Help Build a Culture of Inclusion: My friend described how he organized lunches or dinners, and invited employees of different cultural backgrounds to informally discuss their experiences. While this suggestion might not always be practical, the main idea is that effective managers are proactive in helping employees become more comfortable in their work environments by providing opportunities to have constructive informal dialogues.
3) Successful Managers Support Social Activities: Just showing up to a social event sponsored by an affinity group goes a long way in developing trust and camaraderie with employees. My friend would make every effort to at least drop in to demonstrate his support for a given event. In most cases, he’d stay longer than he thought!
4) Successful Managers Get Involved in the Community: Effective managers show a genuine concern for the Hispanic community by getting involved. Whether it’s getting involved in a reading program or becoming a mentor, managers that demonstrate their willingness to improve the educational and professional efforts of other Hispanics build a stronger bond with their employees.