How to Develop Strong Relationships in a Multicultural Environment?
In a decade-long desperate attempt to understand the true culture lying in the most diversified Indian subcontinent, E.M. Forster produced A Passage to India, but failed to bridge between the Indian and the UK nationals. Rudyard Kipling went far enough or to be fairer, envisioned too much in his famous poem, The Ballad of East and West, to declare:
“Oh, East is East and West is West and never shall the twain meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!”
So where we have traveled to in the ride of a century is nowhere but the vision of the 19th century, the multicultural environment, as envisioned by the then time dreamers. With the wings of technological advancement, emergence of capitalism and open market economy, the world once polarized by distance, now has shrunk to a global village under a multicultural environment to which we do have no other option but to acclimatize.
In every aspects of our life be it academic, political or professional, we need to brace for the bigger challenges lying in a multicultural environment and to make it favorable by developing relationships we should give emphasis on some basic principles as described by Cherie Brown and George Mazza in their, Healing into Action, and avail some opportunities as follow:
- Take the chance to welcome everyone in your world irrespective of their culture, age, nationalism, religion, language, social status or financial condition. Each person has to share the right of feeling secured in a diverse community with their personal beliefs and culture
- In case of a cultural misinterpretation, do not blame others or make them feel ashamed: both ways lead things go awry instead of motivating. People are more likely to adapt a multicultural environment when they are appreciated, not condemned.
- Give emphasis on the basic human nature instead of raising any controversial question regarding the historical background of a particular community, political situation or religious beliefs.
- Treat everyone judging what personality they are guided by: altruist, egoist, extrovert, introvert, altruist or any other. You should not make an introvert asking him questions one after another or expect an extrovert to be a listener only.
- Always try to work like a team involving each and everyone with their opinions while generating spirits and hopes in their hearts. Educate yourself with the cultural differences and make a balance in between, recognize the gaps, show positive attitudes toward it and come out with the desired goal.
It’s all simple in the end. We have crossed the borders, brought the farthest corners down to our doors. Now, what we must do is to conquer the cultural gaps just by changing our mind set of being critical to diverse cultural traits not belonged to us.