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Working Effectively With Indians In Global Teams
As more and more Indian expats join multinational companies it is helpful to look at some of the best practices for global team work with Indian professionals.
I recently provided a series of intercultural coaching sessions with an Indian national working at a global financial company. Because he was such a good Indian manager they sent him to take over an Asia regional team based out of Singapore. This was his first assignment outside of India and he had received some very concerning feedback from HR from his non-Indian colleagues who were not happy with his management style.
After some initial defensive reactions he admitted that he was ‘thrown into’ an expatriate role largely because of his technical expertise and it was his first time having to manage ‘Non-Indians’. He told me, “I’ve been making business trips to the USA, Singapore, Thailand, China and Japan for the past year. But I didn’t really understand how different each of their cultures are and how their systems work until now. In the past two months I am starting to understand how they want me to work professionally. It’s really quite different than what I am accustomed to in India.”
Understanding how to work effectively with your Indian team members is vital to your organization’s success.
Here are some tips for working effectively with your Indian colleagues:
1. Team leads managing Indian members should build in small talk and socializing time in meetings and telephone calls. Indians work best when they get to know their colleagues and can build rapport and trust.
2.When working together on a project make sure you state the priority of tasks assigned and keep reinforcing its priority. Your Indian colleagues multitask, and often re-prioritize activities.
3.Create periodic project review mechanisms with Indian colleagues, e.g., conference calls, e-mails, web chats. This will help you find out about any challenges before the final delivery date.
4.Give your Indian colleagues a good comfort level about your openness and accessibility. When delegated to, Indians often want their decisions approved by a peer or senior person.
5.Indians are typically very good team players and prefer group harmony. However, individual pride can play a role and intense competitiveness can arise between team members. An adept team leader is necessary to manage team performance and conflict.
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