May 7 is Roast Leg of Lamb Day. Lamb is a heartier dish with a stronger taste than most American palettes are accustomed to. Lamb is an acquired taste and like working in a diverse environment requires that one does not judge the dish by that which makes it unique.
Being unique is part of what makes working globally so much fun. It requires that one look beyond their own culture and welcome another’s for all that makes it wonderful. When we are visiting or engaging another culture, it is important to remember that our experiences and biases are not the model which others should follow. The simplest gesture or comment can be misconstrued as rude and insensitive. In fact, in some cases a misplaced gesture can ruin an entire business deal, and you will never know it.
The lesson in leadership is to never presume that your cultures or customs are dominant over another’s. When working with multi-cultural teams, take time to know and embrace what makes other cultures unique. You will find it enlightening.
Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.