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October 6, 2010 / Astor ICS

How can the expatriate build solid professional relationships?

It’s a fact that the expat needs to create bonds for their organization’s and their own success. But how do you do it?  Just saying, “Hey, let’s go have a drink’, obviously it is a nowhere move. What do you do?

1. Quickly assess the working environment; the people, the working style and the offices themselves. They will tell you more that you could imagine; see who is friendly, over-friendly or not friendly at all. Ask your direct reports and anyone very close to your position what was going on before you arrived. Examine their working habits and patterns; do they work in groups? Solo? Are they sociable with each other? What kind of physical environment are you working in. what are the colors, what style of office equipment, where is it, open space, closed space. All of these things give you a starting point.

2. Speak with the people closest to you about their ideas and what they enjoy. Only do this for about ten or fifteen minutes. Cut the conversation short and then later ask them if they have time to get a coffee or tea and discuss things more. Entice them to talk to you. They will most likely say yes or if they say no, they will be open to continuing the conversation.

3. Then you can begin the process of managing up, down and across. Help your boss succeed at their job and at their professional goals. Be delicate about this. Just find out what is most important to them and support it. You can move to your reports and engage and mobilize them to work by being a resource and delegating them to take responsibility for their own special projects. Find out how they communicate best and use that to apply their talents in the most productive way that you can. Also, make alliances with people at the same level as you. Offer to help them with some of their work and be a sounding board for their creativity.

You will soon find that in your new environment, people will begin to gravitate to you and you will be building better relations for your own aspirations. Just remember to always remain respectful and a bit prudent with your behavior and watch the invitations come in.

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