Three Tips for Project Managers to Understand Chinese Business Culture

It is possible to have fun while on holiday and discover new cultures. Cultural differences can make it difficult for you to complete a project if you are traveling professionally or working in another country.
Even more so when you are surrounded by cultures that are different from your own. Understanding other cultures can help overcome many obstacles and make your life more enjoyable. At first glance, it may seem difficult to grasp another culture. It is possible to be reluctant to even try. You might be amazed at the beauty and lessons that you can learn from the world around. It takes an open mind and the ability not to jump to conclusions.
When I first visited China, I experienced severe jetlag. The second week was the worst. I went to the client anyway, in order to get a team working on a project we had begun together. Every time I coughed, my Chinese colleagues brought me hot water. It was hot water, which was a good thing, even though it was 32 degrees outside. Many Chinese believed that hot water was good for your health. My flu symptoms began to disappear and I realized that my Chinese colleagues were trying cure me.
These are three tips that will make working with Chinese colleagues more enjoyable.
Tip 1: Criticism
Do not criticize or question others’ actions, especially those of superiors. While most people don’t like being criticised, the Chinese are especially sensitive to it. It is the most damaging thing you can do to a Chinese person’s reputation or face. Even minor things, such as opening a wrong file can be considered serious.
Tip 2: Verifying Comprehension
Although your Chinese colleague may claim he understands what I have just explained, in reality, he is not. He may be trying to protect you from “losing” it (for not being clear enough). Don’t let him get you down! Instead, check in with him after you have explained things to him.
Tip 3: Creating Initiative
Chinese colleagues may find it difficult to take initiative. Many Chinese associate taking the initiative with potential punishments and loss of reputation. Make sure you’re clear about the rewards and benefits to encourage your Chinese colleagues to take initiative. You can also eliminate fear of losing your reputation or being punished.
These tips were extremely helpful during my trip in China and in my collaboration with my Chinese colleagues. Please comment below and share your experiences!
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