Work Hard, Play Harder

Everyone who works in a multi-cultural environment knows how enriching the experience is despite the increased risk of misunderstanding. And all those managing multi-cultural teams know that with the recruitment of people from diverse backgrounds who bring unique set of culturally-derived characteristics, skills, attitudes, and behaviours to the (pool) table, come things like an increased number of world perspectives and new ways of looking at and attempting to solve problems. It is prudent business management to strategically plot a culturally diverse workforce with a large pool of competencies and ideas for maximizing the benefits and minimizing the challenges.

My attempt here is not to put people in categories with ‘general traits’ nor to compose a list of stereotypes for the citizens of those countries. Instead, I am trying to bring forward the strengths we have developed by virtue of where we were born and raised. Inevitably, the context and culture we live in shape aspects of our personalities, attitudes toward life and work, as well as our behaviours.

As with all complex systems, Individuals, regardless of their cultural origins, have varied personality traits. Our behaviours and attitudes are not merely a product of our environment. And we shouldn’t make assumptions about individual traits based on where a person comes from. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t learn about cultural contexts and how to decode other cultures. In an increasingly globalized world, we need to build understanding and appreciation for both cultural differences and respect for individual traits.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the citizens of highly populated countries who fight over limited resources, grow into more competitive individuals. In some countries, people tend to be hard-workers just because hard work is considered a virtue. People who have migrated from developing to developed countries may exhibit heightened motivation and hard work in an effort to keep their job abroad as the stakes are considerably higher for those coming from economically poor countries. Conversely, people from economically stable countries tend to be more optimistic and positive. If you come or you know anyone who comes from Russia, for example, you are aware of the genuine bluntness to Russian culture. Outspoken employees address issues and concerns head-on with a solution-oriented mindset.

*Characteristics/definitions are used for illustrative purposes.

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