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Tips for communicating and working with Indian managers?

(Of course I understand we can’t easily generalize, but I think culture plays a big role in communication. Thank you 🐠)

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It really varies, but on a very top level there’s a Nice vs. Efficient thing that happens. Niceness is a very American concept where people are too polite to say what’s actually on their mind, and will go around in circles trying to say it in the least offensive way. Culturally, we find that a bit inefficient because we tend to be very direct, even if it comes off a tad bit arrogant. Just know the arrogance is not intentional or directed at you. It is just how we’ve learned to communicate over decades. Plus we view it as being super efficient and a time saver.

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Also, many of our parents were tiger moms and dads. For example, and A+ over an A is such a serious, everyday conversation - we’ve references in pop culture for that now in Indian-American comedy. There’s this expectation to go above and beyond personally as well as from others that we need to shake off perhaps, but that will take time - in regards to the context of your situation.

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A bit more background: had 3 managers who are Indians. I like them for many reasons but one thing I find in common is: they are demanding to their direct reports, which I have no problem with. But when it comes to promotion/raise/new opportunities, they try to find many excuses and tell me why it’s not possible, instead of giving me feedback or having a constructive plan with me to make it work.

Had many managers from different backgrounds, but I do find a pattern in this with Indian PMs. I’m sure if I understand their culture of communication, I can work better to improve my communication with them and feel less frustrated.

So hoping to get some advice 🐠

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@72andSunny 1 OK, it’s one thing for them to not be nice. So what about being constructive instead of finding excuses to not promote someone? Is that cultural too?

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@AE1 No. That is not cultural. But if it’s a thread across a couple of said managers, then it could mean 2 things: 1. How the ask for the feedback is being phrased (ex. Is it direct enough? Something like I’d like to be promoted over the next few months, what can I do between now and x time to get there?) or 2. There’s a disconnect between the managers expectations of a job well done and what is being delivered. Both sides could be doing the best they can, they are just not communicating with each other the same way. Which is why, OPs question is such a great one to ask.

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Get to know them as a person rather than generalizing about them based on their background. Bad idea.

SCOP. Yes, I was born abroad and have complex cultural background. I've always found it super annoying for people to make generalizations about me based on my background. And not me as a person and my own unique perspective. Whatever that is. If there is communication breakdown between me and someone else it's always better to just hash it out and figure out what the real issue is. As someone else noted above. Which usually has nothing to do with cultural bias. That's just my two cents.

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