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Recentering

To recentre, we need to establish a common view of a situation and shared norms for interacting. This doesn’t mean that the same behavioural expectations must apply to every team member. It’s about agreeing on a range of acceptable norms for how team members interact with each other.

Once team members have prepared and decentered, the final piece in effective communication is to recentre.

To recentre, we need to establish a common view of a situation and shared norms for interacting.

This doesn’t mean that the same behavioural expectations must apply to every team member. It’s about agreeing on a range of acceptable norms for how team members interact with each other.

These norms should help people to participate in a way that is comfortable to them.

How do We Recentre?

Try to find points of agreement within the team that you can use to develop shared understandings and goals.

When working on a task, check that members have a shared understanding of what the team is working towards and how to approach it.

Through preparing and decentering, the team may identify areas to set out new norms.

For instance, low context (direct) communicators might be expected to be more sensitive in how they deliver criticism, and to pay more attention non-verbal cues. Similarly, high context (indirect) communicators might be expected to try to avoid ambiguity in conveying messages and help team members to pick up contextual cues.

Language and Fluency Considerations

Reflect on the language capabilities within your team.

Are certain team members dominating team meetings due to their language fluency, rather than their expertise? If so, it may be useful for your team to agree on norms that gives everyone an opportunity to contribute to meetings.

To this end, you could:

  • send a meeting agenda well ahead of meetings, so that team members have the chance to plan what they will say and how to express it in their non-native language.
  • deliver important messages in multiple formats, where practical, and follow up on meetings with a summary of the key points in each meeting via email.
  • give team members the chance to contribute before or after the meeting, in case they are not confident speaking during meetings, due to language fluency or other concerns.

Each team will need to decide what norms or expectations will work for them.

The alternative is to miss out on the valuable expertise and contributions of culturally diverse team members.

Your task

Watch the video above that shows our case study. What bridging strategies can you see them implementing here?

Have you come across any other strategies that you felt were effective for recentering within your own context?

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Leading Culturally Diverse Teams in the Workplace

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