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Ask yourself these 6 questions if you work with people from other cultures

Saskia Maarse | January 18, 2022

Culture is contextual and every country has uncountable subcultures that partly shape our personality. As no culture is the same, it can be very useful to ask yourself these simple questions if you’re working with someone from another culture.

1. Discussion
What is the way your colleagues persuade and convince each other? Are they mainly focused on consensus, or do they actively seek confrontation? Do they let their emotions lead or do they keep them for themselves?

2. Leadership
How does the group view an authoritative figure and who makes the real decisions? Are the participants from a (relatively) egalitarian society or somewhere ruled through hierarchy?

3. Communication
How do they communicate and what do their words and gesture really mean? Do they communicate (relatively) more directly or oppositely indirectly?

4. Individuals
Who is involved and what part do they play? Are they (relatively) individualistic and loyal to themselves? Or are they more collectivistic and focused on the group.

5. Trust
Where does trust come from? Are they (relatively) task oriented or do they find the (long term) relationship more important?

6. Time
What does time mean for the people you work with? Do they keep to their schedule and appointments? Or are they flexible and laid back with their time?

About Saskia Maarse

Saskia Maarse is an intercultural speaker, trainer and author. She writes and speaks about Dutch culture in both business / professional and social life. In her blogs, books and professional talks and workshops she uncovers the origins of deep-rooted Dutch characteristics. Saskia also explains what we can learn from and about other cultures – in areas like communication, leadership and human behaviour.

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