An employee has come to you with an issue involving a co-worker. In general, the Sales team is a pretty cohesive team, but now a relatively new member of the team is rubbing people the wrong way.
She never participates in drinks or other social occasions outside of work. She never involves herself in normal, day-to-day conversations about family, popular movies or culture. The team is beginning to form the opinion that she is too aloof and doesn’t like the other team members and is quite upset about it.
On the Sales team, it’s really important to be able to feel a connection with other team members. When you feel this connection, you know you’re able to rely on them – to relieve you when you need some personal time, feed you information as you need it, and help you serve customers.
You happen to know that the Sales staff member in question is a valuable staff member with good customer skills and product knowledge; however, as a foreign-born, conservative, religious woman, she is having trouble relating to the other team members.
Many team-bonding opportunities involve activities that she cannot participate in, such as out-of-hours parties, alcohol or confusing cultural references. She is in a bind because she would like to be accepted as a member of the team, but when all avenues to team-bonding are closed off, she feels stigmatised and perceived by others as an unfriendly person.
Consider the scenario and answer the following two (2) questions.
2a. How would you explain to the employee that came to you with the issue, how cultural expressions may be misinterpreted – and have been in this case? Ensure to include examples to help support your explanation.