What is one of the best ways to learn about other cultures to improve your managerial skills?
To help you learn about other cultures, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best insights. From sampling food from other cultures to reading books, there are several recommendations that may help you learn about different cultures to improve your managerial skills.
Here are 10 ways to learn about other cultures:
- Sample Food From Other Cultures
- Join Couchsurfing To Meet Foreigners
- Study Cross-cultural Communication
- Ask Questions
- Get Involved in The Community
- Develop Lasting Relationships
- Diversify Your Network Online
- Watch Educational Youtube Channels
- Interact With Local Ethnic Communities
- Read Books
Sample Food From Other Cultures
Do some research online about the customs, traditions, food, history, etc. of the culture. Then sample the food from the culture by making it yourself or going to a restaurant that specializes in serving that food. Even better, invite a person from that culture to go with you and other team members to a restaurant serving food from that culture. Food is unique to almost every culture and there is a history and tradition to it. Most importantly, talking about food is an easy topic and will make others feel comfortable.
Scott Baker, Stage 3 Leadership
Join Couchsurfing To Meet Foreigners
It’s impossible to learn about culture by reading books; culture is something you have to experience. Since not everyone can afford to travel the world, there’s a solution: the Couchsurfing community. The idea of Couchsurfing is to share your flat with travelers on their journey time. Except for giving accommodation, you can just show them your nearest area. Those intercultural meetings not only provide you with multicultural insight but also improve your interpersonal skills.
Rafal Mlodzki, passport-photo online
Study Cross-cultural Communication
One way to learn about the cultural norms of another group is to study cross-cultural communication. This field of study looks at how people from different cultures communicate with each other, and it can help managers understand why some communications breakdowns occur in the workplace. In addition, by studying other cultures, managers can learn about the values that are important to them and how to adapt their management style to be more effective in different parts of the world. For example, a manager who is used to working in a hierarchical culture might need to adjust their style when working with employees in a more egalitarian culture.
Natalia Brzezinska, PhotoAiD
As a People leader, we are tasked with creating a sense of community within our teams and a community is based on trust, understanding and feeling valued. Employees want to feel seen, heard, valued and understood, and in my career, and especially now consulting with clients on Culture and Community, the best way I have found to do this is to ask.
Ask questions like, “How can I support you?” “What will help you feel valued on the team?” “What holidays and celebrations are important to you so we can support you in recognizing and celebrating?” “Would you be willing to educate us about why this particular day has so much meaning to you and your culture?” Fostering an environment where people feel safe and are encouraged to share things about themselves and their culture creates an awareness that you care to know your people at a deeper level, and that you care about what’s important to them. Everyone wants to be seen and celebrated for who they are.
Barbie Winterbottom, the Business of HR
Get Involved in The Community
Starting at the top, we have an incredibly diverse set of executives and lawyers, both men and women in leadership roles. Many of our lawyers are active in the local Latino, African-American, Jewish and Middle Eastern communities. Our welcoming workplace is a big part of our culture and our success. We provide a welcoming environment for not only our clients, but also our employees. We encourage them to share in that involvement with the local community and celebrate its diversity. We’re always willing and eager to talk about what makes our ethnic cultures unique and we welcome everyone to participate in those discussions and activities. Having such a welcoming environment makes it a perfect place to learn about other cultures – literally.
Alan Ahdoot, Adamson Ahdoot Law
Develop Lasting Relationships
One of the best ways to learn about other cultures is to develop and maintain lasting relationships with folks from different backgrounds. You can only cover so much ground in a single cultural education event like a training course or holiday celebration. These happenings only instill a base-level understanding of other cultures, whereas multicultural friendships offer ongoing opportunities for learning. Employee resource groups, virtual social events between teams in different countries, and an inter-organizational pen pal program are examples of ways you can make connections between colleagues in different cultures and spark ongoing connection, deeper conversation, and constant learning.
Carly Hill, Virtual Holiday Party
Diversify Your Network Online
One of the best ways to learn about other cultures is to connect with new people online. For example, I’ve befriended CEOs located in various countries over LinkedIn.
It’s beneficial for my own business to learn how other entrepreneurs implement their company culture and care for their employees. The entire world is at the tip of your fingers.
Cesar Cruz, Sebastian Cruz Couture
Watch Educational Youtube Channels
There are a multitude of informative YouTube channels which can give managers the background in history and different cultures to understand their employees and customers’ unique situations. One of my favorite YouTube channels is “Real Life Lore,” which gives in-depth and unbiased historical and cultural background for many complex international situations around the world. Overseeing a company means regularly interacting with many people, who often come from a variety of different backgrounds, and it’s been a great way to get the basic understanding I need on both current and historical events in business, politics, and culture.
John Jacob, Hoist
Interact With Local Ethnic Communities
One of the best ways to learn about different cultures is by visiting local ethnic communities and talking to people. This is easy if you can get to a nearby city. In New York, that might mean visiting Chinatown in Manhattan, or Flushing Queens if you want to learn about Chinese culture. It could mean visiting Little Italy or Astoria Queens if you want to learn about modern Italian or Greek culture. Observe the way people interact with one another, and start conversations. If you go to a restaurant, have a friendly conversation with the server. Ask them whatever they seem comfortable answering about their own background, and find out where the locals go for activities and entertainment. Just don’t take up so much of their time that they can’t do their job, and be respectful of their boundaries.
Dennis Consorte, Snackable Solutions
One way to learn about other cultures is by reading books written by authors from those cultures. This can help you understand how they view the world and how they approach work and management. Try to find a book that covers the management topic you’re interested in, such as leadership or human resources. Alternatively, you can look for a book that covers general business practices in another culture. This will open your eyes to different ways of doing things and help you become a more flexible and adaptable manager.
Lenny Terra, 10 Best For Men