How Coaching Can Help the Majority Culture Understand Difference

Have you ever avoided giving feedback to a foreign national employee for fear of appearing prejudiced or insensitive? Managers are obliged to provide thoughtful, candid feedback as a core component of professional development. Yet managers, often representatives of the dominant or “majority culture,” may not always feel comfortable or confident in addressing foreign national employees with regard to cultural disconnects. They may not be fully aware of how misunderstandings related to social and behavioral differences can lead these employees to disengage. As Professor Erin Meyer put it: “Stereotyping people from different cultures on just one or two dimensions can lead to erroneous assumptions. Even experienced, cosmopolitan managers often have faulty expectations.”

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