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The Inter-Cultural Manager: Fostering Collaboration

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

The Inter-Cultural Manager, Part 4 of 4

Collaboration requires me to move past stereotypes of others and learn to understand, respect, trust and celebrate people who are different than me.

In the last 20 years we had the privilege of working with leaders and manager in over 70 countries. The complexities of our world require managers to take their ‘game to a higher level’. The same ‘game’ that caused the challenges we face today, is not sufficient to be a successful manager in our world today!

Our world is both on the move (virtually and physically) and highly interconnected! If there is one thing we need to do a whole lot better it is the following:

navigating the intercultural challenges of our teams!

This is our final article illumining the four management behaviors of the Everything DiSC® Management Profile, using the intercultural spotlight of The Three Colors of Worldview©.

Today we are exploring the final behavior of Collaboration, looking at two ways managers can foster collaboration on a multicultural team: by helping team members grow in respecting each other’s strengths, and by creating a culture that protects ownership of ideas.

Beyond Stereotypes

Respect is a key ingredient for collaboration. Respect requires me to move past the areas I perceive I am better than you or different than you, and learn to see and appreciate your strengths as well.

That will often require me to let go of stereotypes based on differences like culture, gender, or personality etc. This can be challenging when you work on a diverse team. People come into a team with ideas about what a good manager looks like, or what it means to be a good team contributor, and it may not look like you!

Different cultures look at management and leadership in different ways. If I am a manager, depending on the cultural background and experience of the people on my team, they may expect me to be:

  • The charismatic, dynamic, leading from the front type

  • The quiet, powerful, rock-solid leader who quietly droves the process in the right direction

  • An aggressive go-getter who cracks the whip on his people to make sure they get the job done

But what if my natural style of leading is something different?

The Best DiSC Style for Managers

Talking with managers about their Everything DiSC® Management profiles, we often get asked, “What do you think about my profile? Is it a good one?” Many people assume that certain DiSC behavioral styles must be better than others for a leader. Many cultures assume that certain DiSC styles will make better managers. Most of these stereotypes have grown over a long period of time and in most cases they are steeped in cultural history, tales and songs of heroes. Depending on the culture you are from, these tales will celebrate a certain type of leader, but forget that all societies are run on a wide variety of leadership requirements!

This is why I love the Everything DiSC® Profile and the way the Everything DiSC® Management profile brings to life the power and importance of multiple management styles in a given context - it all depends on how one uses them.

Breaking stereotypes like this in an organization is actually one of the keys to unlocking collaboration. People need to recognize there is not just one good way of doing things.

One of the beauties of the Everything DiSC® Management profile is that it brings the benefits of different management styles to life, helping people appreciate, respect, embrace and celebrate both their own styles and those of colleagues different from them.

Working Well with Others

Reaching out to collaborate requires me to exercise leadership, and I can only lead from my strength. It is crucial to learn to embrace your own natural management style first, accept it, embrace it and make it the center of gravity for your growth as a manager!

If you try to conform to a stereotype in the way I manager, you will likely violate the core wiring of who you were mean to be as a manager and as a cultural human being. The first step of becoming a good manager is experience the freedom to lead from your natural strength!