Learning about My Team Through Our Cultural Diversity

September 22, 2023

Liyana (Head of HR at Lemon Sky) shared a helpful answers to questions from our alumni community

Who is Campus Aunty? An in-house agony aunt spin-off answering our learning community’s sticky questions. This time, we passed the question to Liyana  (Head of HR at Lemon Sky).

Hi, I love reading your advice. I can always relate to the questions people submit! Now, I have a question to ask. I moved to an international company that doesn’t have locals in my team. I wanted to ask for tips on how to navigate the cultural differences especially coming in as a new manager. I want to give the best first impressions to my team (up, down and all around!)

Looking forward,

Culturally Curious

Hi Culturally Curious,

Congratulations! I love how excited you sound about this opportunity and that you’re ready to learn and step up.

In my experience, moving to a culturally diverse organisation can be both exciting and challenging. The most important aspect is to wholeheartedly embrace these differences and foster an inclusive work environment. You can do this by,

  • approaching these differences with an open mind, rather than being judgmental. Spend time understanding your team members’ backgrounds, working preferences, and communication styles. This knowledge will help you adapt your approach to communicate with clarity and empathy and avoiding misunderstandings.
  • investing time in building meaningful relationships with each team member. Leverage your 1-1s with your team to learn about their experiences and aspirations, all the while demonstrating curiosity and practicing active listening. This will also help you understand their individual strengths and challenges, allowing you to provide tailored support when required.
  • leading by example and creating opportunities for everyone to contribute. Model inclusive behaviour by treating all team members with respect and fairness. Be aware of your own biases and challenge them. Encourage collaboration, and set clear expectations about the kind of culture you want to build in your team. Remember, culture is not what you preach, but what you tolerate!

By showing respect, openness and a genuine desire to know them and learn from them, we not only make a positive impression but also inspire the team to collaborate and achieve success together.

Hope this piece of advice is helpful!