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Learning to lead and communicate with confidence at Green Start Academy

By |  November 10, 2020 0 Comments

You never know what an educational session at Green Start Academy might hold, but maybe a geography and sociology lesson wouldn’t be at the top of your list.

But, that’s exactly what Green Start 2020 attendees got when Carlos Arraya, CGCS, Golfdom columnist and director of agronomy/assistant general manager at Bellerive Country Club, took the opportunity to school the group on the various cultures of the world.

After learning that there are about 6,500 languages spoken by more than 690 ethnic groups in the 190-plus countries on Earth, it’s no wonder that Arraya’s talk on leading golf’s multicultural organizations would boil down to one theme: communication.

Communicating in a multicultural group

“When you talk about multicultural groups, everyone assumes you’re talking about a different country,” he said, noting, for instance, how different the Northwest is from the East and how different other parts of the U.S. are from each other.

He advised that you can avoid the awkward shock of cultures clashing at work by asking if people are misunderstanding you as a leader, and he stressed how it’s important for you to prepare, understand and be aware of differences in culture among your crew.

Arraya outlined the four challenges to communicating in a multicultural environment: differences in communication style, fluency, authority and decision-making; as well as the four main strategies to solve those challenges:

• Adaptation – working around the problem or person
• Structural intervention – reassigning tasks to reduce friction
• Managerial intervention – support from management
• Exit strategy – removing a person from their role

The learning never stops

Above all, Arraya stressed continuously improving communication with your team, creating an inclusive environment, clarifying your crew members’ responsibilities and learning by watching the people in your operation.

And, this learning isn’t limited to observing everyone around you — it requires you to examine your habits, too.

“Be aware of who you are and how you’re going to react,” said Arraya. “What’s moving you? What sways you? If you can dial things in, you can still have the level of production that you’re looking for on the golf course.”

Standing out from the crowd

In the last session of Green Start Academy, career coach Carol Rau reiterated the top three things she wanted attendees to focus on when it comes to presenting yourself to a potential employer:

Most important is your variant perception: What is different about you that would make people want to hire you?

She advised playing up your experience with tournaments, discussing if you have experience working at the same type of facility or the same type of customers. Your experience with agronomic challenges or remodels or renovation could be a key differentiator here as well.

Second, elevate your experience as part of a team, part of a golf facility and as part of the overall game of golf. Show how you are driving success for your organization.

And finally, know why: make sure you know why you want that specific job and communicate that clearly.

First impressions are everything

Once you’ve won an interview, you have to make your mark during that interaction, so your first impression is important.

“Research shows it takes between seven seconds and five minutes to form the decision in an interview setting, ‘yes or no,’” Rau said.

She pointed out three key areas to focus on when preparing for your in-person interview(s):

• Your body language and general appearance: Convey confidence and be aware and intentional with your body language.
• Your handshake: Rau said it can take up to three hours to recover from a bad handshake, so be firm and confident. In this era of COVID, she recommended finding out what the protocols are so you can be prepared if your interviewers would prefer a handshake or an elbow bump.
• Your first words: What are you going to say in those critical opening moments when you walk in the door? Practice walking in a room, smiling, have good posture and prepare what you’re going to say, Rau said.

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