Project managers need to be culturally versed to work in the global economy. Being open to learning new cultures helps foster good relationships. One way to do this is by developing cultural intelligence (CQ). “Cultural intelligence refers to a person’s ability to use reasoning and observation skills to interpret unfamiliar gestures and situations and devise appropriate behavioral responses.” (Daft, 2011)
The three components that work together for CQ are cognitive, emotional, and physical. Cognitive refers to your ability to pick up on observations. Emotional refers to self-motivation. Physical is being able to shift your body language or way of expressing yourself to align with people for a different culture.
Having the opportunity to work or study abroad and get exposed to different cultures is a great way to develop CQ. Studies have found that people who adapt to global management best are those who have grown up learning how to understand, empathize, and work with others from different cultures.
As a project manager, I work with people from other countries outside the US. My teams use technology to communicate with coworkers in other countries. Video conferences and internet connection forums have introduced great methods for work collaboration.
Whether you are talking over the phone or in person, it is important to show interest in cultures outside of your own. This helps to establish good relationships and increases communication and team effectiveness. Relationships are the key to global business. Whether you are from Ireland, Japan, or America, you have to treat people well. People deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
By developing cultural intelligence, you can manage projects successfully on a global scale.
For more on global effects on project management, see my LinkedIn post here.
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Daft, Richard L. (1996). The Leadership Experience