Culturally, who are you?

Looking around the office, I notice – physically – up to at least 4 different possible nationalities working in my vicinity. Listening to their voices, I can notice up to 10 different accents. Amongst those accents I notice further delineation of intonations and strength of language. Observing over a week or so, I notice there are distinct patterns of behaviour which I’ve not seen previously. Observing over a greater period of time, I notice distinct working patterns, that I am not sure if I should attribute to culture or to personal performance capabilities.

And that’s where things become interesting. How do I know whether I should attribute a working trait to your cultural way of doing things, or to your actual ability to perform a job? Easy answer is, I don’t. I remember doing a module in a leadership workshop, where the delegates were all European, and all with English as their second language. A key thing they needed to understand about each other is how they communicate with each other. And – importantly – how to understand the intent behind the message. It was a truly fascinating module with incredible insights being shared across the group.

So this week’s Q&A post is all about sharing cultural insights, either personal, or your experience of working with others.

Here’s my insight:

I have both Indian and English culture. This means a mixed bag of how I approach work. I have the very English attitude of being sarcastic and enjoying banter with work colleagues. I fully expect this banter to be witty and challenging. I have a built in love of all things to do with London. Anyone says anything against London, or England, and I’ll be all guns blazing! In work, I will be direct and to the point. Fools are fine, and I have the tolerance of a saint, but I will express annoyance if you continue to be a fool. I fully expect to be promoted for good work, and to be rewarded along the way.

My Indian side means I will always defer to authority. It takes a lot of effort for me to be assertive with management if I don’t think I’m being respected appropriately. I don’t like confrontation and will be diplomatic in pretty much every situation I face. Family values are vital to my being, and I will always put my family above work. (Couple this with English stubbornness, and you get an interesting balance) I have a strong belief in God, but will not and do not see the need to evangelise about this. I will share, readily, food and treats that I bring in for those I work with.

And that’s me. So. What about you?

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