Diversity is one of the most important issues to address in the contemporary globalized world. Organizations often have employees who have different backgrounds. Of course, gender issues and the generation gap are also important to take into account. It is clear that the development of proper relationships among employees is crucial, and negotiating is one of the possible ways to achieve it (Salacuse 112).
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I had quite many experiences of feeling ‘other,’ which is quite common for a person living in the diverse US society. One period in my high school life can be quite suggestive. In the middle of a project, I found myself in a team where members of the team had already worked on it for a while. The worst thing was the fact that I was a member of another team, so I had been previously seen as a rival.
I was a new member of the team, and from the first meeting, I felt I was ‘other.’ The team consisted of eight people (including me). The group was diverse in terms of ethnicity and gender. Since my childhood, I was good at negotiating, and I managed to develop proper relationships with almost all of the team members. I knew people from the team (though we were not friends and I had not even talked to some members previously).
Nonetheless, I knew a lot about some cultural peculiarities of some groups, and this enabled me to be a good negotiator, and I even helped the team solve some internal issues. I managed to avoid “confrontation” of different “styles of communication” within the team, and we worked effectively (Salacuse 113). However, there was one girl who was very hostile to me. Even when all of the members of the team were very friendly, appreciated my contribution, and saw me as an integral part of the team, that girl still made me feel like ‘other.’ I have to admit that it was important for me to become a part of the team and not to be treated as ‘other.’
It was only after several weeks and after my active participation in the work of the group when this girl finally started treating me as a team member. I thought I managed to prove that I was knowledgeable, which made the girl understand that I was not ‘other.’ Now, I understand that it was only partially true. At present, I believe that the emotional element played a crucial role in the girl’s behavior.
Her anger and somewhat aggressive behavior (or sometimes neglect) were her “protective strategy” (Parker 44). She was reluctant to accept new members, as she felt insecure. Luckily, I already had some knowledge or rather skills associated with “emotional intelligence,” and I managed to employ them (Parker 46). My patience, intelligence, experience, and positive attitude made her change her mind about me. Of course, we did not become best friends, but we effectively communicated during our project, and we managed to become an effective team, which is the most important.
In conclusion, I would like to note that emotional intelligence, as well as understanding the cultural peculiarities of different groups, can be regarded as keys to effective cooperation within the organization. Of course, these are also crucial for the development of proper relationships with partners and making agreements. The teamwork in high school was one of the first instances that made me understand the importance of these crucial elements of effective cooperation in a diverse setting.
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Parker, Carole G. “The Emotional Connection of Distinguishing Differences and Conflict.” Understanding and Managing Diversity: Readings, Cases, and Exercises. Ed. Carol Harvey and M. June Allard. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 2014. 41-47. Print.
Salacuse, Jeswald W. “Negotiating: The Top Ten Ways That Culture Can Effect Your Negotiation.” Understanding and Managing Diversity: Readings, Cases, and Exercises. Ed. Carol Harvey and M. June Allard. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 2014. 111-116. Print.