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January 24, 2013 / Vanilla Chocolate

Indian, American, Brazillian etc. Soft Skills:


I work in a professional services MNC in the IT division and in my 18 months of experience I have had the chance to have professionally interacted with people from various backgrounds and  ethnicity.Most of this interaction has been virtual. I have worked with people from Brazil, USA, India,  Indian origin people working in the US , Chinese origin people working in the US, people from France and very briefly with people from the UK.

Of all the groups listed above I felt that the people from the US seemed to have the best soft skills, then it comes as no surprise that the Americans are the best managers around in the world. The Chinese origin people have been nice to work with too, they seem to be polite and respectful in their interactions. I have found that the French and the English were good to work with too. The English seemed to be very professional and kept their tone so. While, the French were soft spoken but did not fail to make their point strongly when it was time for them to do so.

I had a tough time dealing with folks from Brazil and Indian origin people working in the US. With both I found that they were a little too impatient with the Indians who were off-shore. It seemed like they had some form of prejudice against the Indians that they were incompetent and undependable. So, whenever they operated they did not mind questioning and counter questioning people about things they were doing. This was done with the least of grace possible and was out right rude at times. They seemed to to have an attitude that  “Oh, We know you are up to no good, we got to make you work! lest you’d fools us.” This was always a morale buster for the team I was working with and I could see how it had a detrimental effect on everyone’s attitude.

While people who get down straight to business without caring for individuals and their individuality might come across as very result oriented and good for the organization I believe that these people bring the culture of the organization down in the long run, they affect employee morale which in turn can harm productivity in a big way. Organizations should take steps to ensure that such kind of behaviors are not entertained, those steps could be through soft skills trainings or trainings on basic professional etiquette. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and everyone desires to be valued.

What have some of your experiences been like when dealing with people from different backgrounds? Who have you found the rudest? Have you been rude to anyone at work because of prejudices that you’ve held ? Any comments or thoughts?

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  1. white lady in a US Hindi community / Sep 21 2014 4:50 am

    Now assuming non-Indians are treated differently, I see two motivations in the behavior of the now U.S. Indians dealing with their India based compatriots. One being they are comfortable in treating them like they would at home, in India, “I have more status and am allowed to show it by questioning those with less status”, and the second being the well-earned (and they would know) reputation of shoddy materials, careless construction and dishonesty as “business as usual”. Having said that, one of the saddest things about stereotypes (besides the large grain of truth they contain) is that they are often not the case and are unfairly used as an excuse to make negative assumptions about others. Unfortunately, as written and sung by David Byrne, “Compassion is a virtue, but I don’t have the time.” Sorry to your team, I hope you take it as an opportunity to prove them wrong!

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