How to Learn Basics About Another Person’s Values and Culture
Consider asking others to help you understand how each of the following aspects might be unique in the culture of the organization. Key cultural aspects that might affect your leadership include:
- Assertiveness Are members of your organization comfortable being honest and direct with each other? If not, how can you still be as authentic as possible and help them to be as authentic as possible, as well?
- Body language Are there any specific cues that you can notice to help you to sense how others are experiencing you?
- Communication styles and direction Is communication fairly direct and specific or more indirect and general? Does information flow mostly “upward” to executives or is it widely disseminated?
- Conflict Is conflict considered bad and avoided? Or is conflict accepted as normal and directly addressed when it appears?
- Eye contact Are members of the organization comfortable with sustained eye contact during communication or not?
- Gestures Are there any specific gestures that can cause members of the organization discomfort or confusion?
- Humor Is use of humor in the organization rather widespread? Is there anything about the use of humor about which you should be aware?
- Information collection Should you be aware of any potential problems or use any certain precautions when conducting interviews or using assessments?
- Physical space For example, are members of your organization quite conscious of having a minimum amount of space around them when they work or speak with others?
- Power Are members attuned to certain people of power when solving problems and making decisions? Is power based on authority and/or respect?
- Silence Are members uncomfortable with silence during communication? Or is it a common aspect of communicating in their workplace?
- Time Is time a precious commodity that seems to underlie many activities, or can activities take as long as they need to take to be done effectively?
- Wording Are there certain words or phrasings that cause discomfort when people from different cultures interact?