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Chapter 5: Communication and Language: T... > Making Communication Happen - Pg. 39

Communication and Language: The Key to Multicultural Team Success unaware of such conditioning might mistakenly interpret this behavior as evidence of a lack of confidence or honesty. You can do a great deal to help the members of your multicultural workforce improve their language skills and the confidence with which they communicate in English simply by pointing out, in your daytoday dealings with them, the communication habits and language usage of the society to which they are earnestly trying to adapt. Making Communication Happen Attentive listening and openness in receiving communication are not enough to make it happen. As a manager of a multicultural workforce, you must actively encourage others to make sure that communication occurs. You must look for the places where communication is missing amongst your workforce and remedy this problem when you find it. One of the supervisors I worked with was especially hard working. He worked in his own separate room where he carefully inspected fabric eight hours a day. But there was a communication problem: he never sent the managers a report, so we never knew how much fabric was inspected and ready for production. One day the fabric cutters needed fabric in order to meet production quotas, but it hadn't yet been passed to them from inspection. This was a major production block. I went to the fabric inspector and asked where the fabric was. "It hasn't been inspected. It will take another week," he answered. "Why didn't you tell us this ahead of time?" I asked, perplexed. "Because you already told me, no overtime and no hiring," he replied. What he said was true. I had to explain to him that though company policy was important, meeting production quotas was essential, so judg ment was required. Of course employees should not make unauthorized exceptions to company policy, but they need to know they can communicate to their manager as issues arise. Everyone should be trained to stay flexible and use judgment. The incident with the fabric inspector was not unusual with this com pany's members of its multicultural workforce. Often communication that should have happened did not. One likely reason was fear. Managers need to understand that many cultures, especially those with a strong religious background, function with an element of instilled 39