Which Nationality Is Your Working Style?

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Your efforts at office could be reflecting the traits of another country. We tell you how…

India is like a global village. Depending on which part of the country you come from, your ethnicity, your economic status, your school, your college, your own personality, and so many other factors, you derive a certain cultural style. And this style also flows into your workplace. In short, thanks to the microcosm that India is, your traits could be mimicking those of other nationalities. Read on to find out which country your working style resembles most closely.

THE HIERARCHY LOVER

There are people who like flat structures and then there are people who like hierarchy. If you’re the latter, you fit into the Japanese style of working.

The Japanese love hierarchies because of their unique cultural upbringing. Japanese children learn, at a very early age, about the importance of their close associations with others. These associations help them live and flourish in an interdependent society, where contribution and obligations are more important than competition and confrontation.

Hierarchy, to the Japanese, symbolises a large well-oiled machinery where everyone is working together towards a common goal. In a more general context, hierarchy also provides predictability and clarity of expectations.

The Japanese Mantra – “Minu ga hana.” Translation: “Things will never be as you imagine, so you’re better off not seeing them.”

THE BALANCED WORKER

If your work ethic is all about being the most productive you can be, you are a prime example of the German working style.

Germans are known to be nononsense workers. In German work culture, working hours are sacrosanct. This means that they do not do anything other than work while they are in their workplace. No Facebook, no personal emails, no phone calls from home. What this also means is that they don’t like to bring work home either. They manage work-life balance like pros. Germans also like to know what work lies ahead of them during the day, so that they can plan to finish in the least amount of time while maintaining no compromise on quality. And if they finish before time, they take up some of the next day’s tasks. The more work done, the better they feel about themselves.

The German mantra – “Des Teufels liebstes Möbelstück ist die lange Bank.” Translation: “The devil’s favourite piece of furniture is the long bench.” (In German, the long bench is an idiom for procrastination)

THE PERFECTIONIST

Like to do the same set of tasks to perfection, day in and day out? You’re in tune with the Chinese style of working!

Like the Japanese, the Chinese, too, believe in working for the collective good. To this end, they are extremely comfortable working on the same tasks over and over again, because they know that it fits into, and enhances, the larger scheme of things. Even if they’re just tightening a screw, product after product after product, they know that having a tight screw is important to uphold the product’s quality. And so they do it with complete dedication. Having the Chinese assembly line attitude doesn’t mean you have to be in the manufacturing sector. You could be someone who works with accounts, data entry or Microsoft Excel all the time, making the same reports every day. This kind of work needs heavy concentration so that there are no errors. So if this is the kind of work that turns you on, you’re on the right Chinese track.

The Chinese mantra – “Gàn huó bú yóu dõng lèi sî yê wú gong.” Translation: “Only work on what is needed to be done.”

THE COMPETITIVE ONE

Find yourself questioning the way your organisation does business? “But why can’t we increase our prices, when the customer can pay?”, “What if we change the way we package this product?”, “How can we not make this common mistake again?”. Then you’re the quintessential American.

The American dream is about capitalism, i.e. competing with others to enable control as well as mastery. Their style of working, therefore, not only emphasises on excellence but also on the articulation of that excellence. In a nutshell, it’s not enough for Americans to be great at something, they also want to take everyone along on that path to excellence. In order to do that, they need to be able to convince others to join them on that path, and one way to do that is by questioning the normal way things are done. There is not focus on hierarchy and everybody’s opinions are counted as relevant. This style of functioning works really well with young companies in India who are more open to the American model of working.

The American mantra – “Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it is built on catastrophe.”

THE SATISFACTION OF LONGER HOURS

Do you feel a sense of pride when you come back home late from work? Does it heighten your sense of purpose and make you feel like a high-achiever? Then you have a pukka, desi Indian style of working.

Indians love to work long hours, not because they are inefficient, but because they really get a sense of satisfaction from being in office for a while longer. There is some psychology involved here, too. From a young age, Indian children are taught about the values of working hard. A heavy emphasis is also given to academics, with parents inculcating the singular end goal of “finding a good job”. So it is natural, then, that Indians associate their workplace achievements not just as professional accomplishments but also as personal successes. So if you find yourself giving excuses to sit a little longer in office, you know you’re a pure bred desi.

The Indian mantra – “Aaram haram hai.” Translation: “Rest is blasphemous.”

By Alpana Mandal
First Published in Pune Mirror

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