Intercultural Management - Seychelles
Being a Manager in the Seychelles
Management Guide Seychelles
Cross cultural management is more likely to succeed if you treat business people with respect and deference and do not mistake their casual, almost laid-back attitude as indicative of a lack of attention to detail. The Seychellois believe professionalism can be attained without adopting a frenetic pace. Many business protocols mirror those in the UK or France. Status is important as it demonstrates achievement.
Communication is generally clear and concise while demonstrating respect towards the other person.
Seychellois are outwardly warm and friendly, although they may initially appear shy and reserved. This façade evaporates as they learn more about you and discern that you are a person of character. First impressions are lasting ones in the Seychelles. If you appear arrogant and give the impression that you think you know more than the islanders, you will have a difficult time fostering the personal relationships.
The Seychellois enjoy socializing and showing colleagues the beauty of their island home. Socializing is an important part of developing a relationship; never turn down the opportunity to have a drink after work.
Role of a Manager
In the Seychelles, as in other hierarchical societies, managers may take a somewhat paternalistic attitude to their employees. They may demonstrate a concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace and strictly professional concerns.
Approach to Change
The Seychelles’ intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is developing all the time. The Seychellois are seen to have a medium tolerance for change and risk. It is important for innovations to have a track record or history noting the benefits if they are to be accepted and implemented.
The fear of exposure, and the potential of embarrassment that may accompany failure, brings about aversion to risk and the need to thoroughly examine the potential negative implications. Because of this attitude, intercultural sensitivity is going to be required, especially when conducting group meetings and discussing contributions made my participating individuals.
Approach to Time and Priorities
The Seychelles is a fluid time culture, and, as is the case with many fluid time cultures, it is also very relationship-oriented. People in the Seychelles will not want to upset others in order to push through a deadline.
While timescales and deadlines need to be set well in advance and reiterated carefully, it should be understood that these will be viewed as flexible.
Global and intercultural means that some managers may have a greater appreciation of the need to enforce timescales and as such, agreed deadlines are more likely to be met.
Although many businesses retain hierarchical structures, decisions are often made after reaching a consensus of the stakeholders. Few individuals have full authority to make binding decisions concerning anything but mundane matters. Teamwork is becoming increasingly important in most organizations. The best ideas and solutions often come from having many people meet to discuss an issue.
Boss or Team Player?
When working with Seychellois, it is important to remember that hierarchy plays a role in teamwork and collaboration. Traditionally, the supervisor is thought to hold that position because of superior knowledge and skills. Therefore, it is not common for someone of a higher position to collaborate with, or ask ideas of one of a lower status.
Successful cross cultural management will recognize that teamwork is becoming increasingly important in most organizations where they believe the best ideas and solutions often come from having many people meet to discuss an issue.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Expect small talk before getting down to business. Business people often want to get to know people before conducting business with them. Younger business people will often begin business discussions with a minimum of small talk. Most Seychellois speak both English and French. If you are not fluent in either, you may want to hire an interpreter to avoid any possible cross cultural miscommunication. Even if they speak English, it may take time to understand the Seychellois cadence. Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. They are seen as confrontational.