Intercultural Management – Getting the Best From the World

In order to provide modern solutions to modern problems the 21st century manager has to adopt accordingly. One area which requires such emphasis is in their intercultural management skills. Almost all the major companies nowadays get involved with buying, selling or working with people from varied cultural background.Multinationals have offices around the world; native audiences are not the sole consumer of products or services; manufacturers have to depend on foreign markets and distributors or even labor.In a nutshell all companies must understand intercultural communication requirements.Intercultural Management – The Basic IssuesIn today’s world of cut-throat competition, companies are realizing that to attain an advantage and for overall growth and diversification, intercultural management skills have become crucial. The term “intercultural management skills” is loosely defined as the ability of a manager to deal and communicate with people from different cultures. In all forms of people management, communication is a recognized key ingredient for success and intercultural communication is a term of increased complexity.Where you have a multinational organization, intercultural communication is necessary for business development in many ways. Within the business, an multicultural manager plays the role of a go-between for senior personnel and employees and must have clear and effective communication with all.The manager must also build and oversee an efficient team of often worldwide employees to ensure that and strategies and global plans get delivered at the sharp end. Externally a multicultural manager will have expertise in broad and varied cultural awareness for supervising the entrance into foreign markets. The selection and training of people who will work in foreign interests must be overseen.Negotiation and client conflicts should be managed. Potential areas of success and failure arising from culture differences must be analyzed carefully, managed effectively and, where possible leveraged for the value such expertise brings.Intercultural Management – Clear, Focused and ExperiencedThe intercultural manager therefore must ensure that there are no misunderstandings due to cultural differences between colleagues, customers and clients.For achieving this goal the intercultural manager must possess certain attributes such as:-1. A broad international awareness2. Vision to capitalize on differences3. Multicultural and personal behavioral flexibility4. A great sense of patience!Intercultural awareness is the basis of wide ranging management skills. Having a hands-on experience of working amongst varied cultures is critical.Knowledge about the different relationships and their manifestations across international boundaries is necessity, because such managers can only develop the requisite skills by absorbing the many intercultural differences in the target country.Flexibility Is The Key For Cross-cultural ManagersFlexibility will often happen naturally once a manager becomes aware of cultural differences and can see beyond superficial level experiences. Flexibility means thinking out of the box, when considering solutions to intercultural challenges.A flexible manager deals with such problems smoothly with positive solutions. Likewise a manager with international responsibilities must use intercultural differences positively. Despite the challenges, cross cultural differences can only yield positive results when managed well.Thus the assessment of the potential of personnel, products and policies leveraging cultural differences is a huge opportunity. Managed well, by an effective manager, experienced in extracting the benefits of such a role, will lead to added value for the organization, as well as to the advantage of employees in the target country too.There is a Dutch proverb that says, “A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains”.Thus patience is the key for success in intercultural management, because it helps maintain focus and leads to a coherent analysis and an effective solution.