Wanted: Multicultural Skills

Image Imagine you visited the local zoo and found that everything had changed. The zebras didn't have stripes, the giraffes didn't have long necks, the tigers didn't roar, and the monkeys didn't swing. All animals were displayed the same, ate the same, sounded the same and moved around the in the same fashion. Weird, right? What kind of visit would that be? A zoo is supposed to be a variety of wild animals or other sorts of species that have unique characteristics that are used for study, conservation and displayed to the public for education.

Now imagine a workplace that is like The Zoo of the Same. Everyone has the same accent, same color hair, same degree in school, same skills, same personality, even the same business attire. Does this sound like your ideal workplace? While you might be saying "No Way!”— You may be hoping or wanting to work in a place where you find similarities in others. It is ok to think this, it's natural. Most people are more comfortable with people who are similar to them.

However, globalization is here to stay... and if interns and graduates are not prepared or have the skills to work harmoniously with groups of people from different backgrounds, then they might want to apply to The Zoo of The Same (I hear they are hiring, good luck with that!)!

Think about it.. Trying to fit round people into square holes of an organization is not what managing a multicultural workplace is all about. Managing a diverse team is all about incorporating employees unique backgrounds and cultures into all core business functions, communications, processes and services in order to create a harmonious and inclusive environment. You see, variety is good! Variety is fun! Variety is innovative! Variety is creative! Variety is_______________(create your own!)

So, knowing this, why are most people still more comfortable with working with others who are similar to them? As 21st century global leaders, how do you overcome this? How do you develop the needed multicultural mindset that is motivated, patient, respectful, understanding and collaborative?

Our first suggestion is to ask you to walk away from The Zoo of the Same and step into The Land of Diversity. Get out of your comfort zone and take time to see the advantages of working and managing a diverse workforce – they can achieve so much! If you still feel you need assistance check out AHA World Campus online (click here) management and diversity courses. AHA threads cultural understanding and multicultural skills through all of their professional development and leadership courses. Their 30+ years of working with students from around the world have helped create courses that assist supervisors and managers develop a diverse workforce that appreciates and respects all cultures while having fun!

Remember, " a man without culture is like a zebra without stripes."

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