Some anglos say the hispanic culture is difficult to understand, and hispanics will sometimes say the same thing about the Anglo culture. But have we really taken the time to understand each other? We have more similarities than differences.   

So, what exactly is culture? It is passed from generation to generation and provides guidance about what is acceptable and expected in specific situations — especially group interaction. 

In the U.S., it is part of the culture to look people in the eye when talking to them, while in parts of the Hispanic culture it is a sign of respect not to look at people, especially the boss, directly in the eye.

The line between culture and personality is never clear-cut; a person’s behavior depends on both. For instance, if a Hispanic or Anglo is hard-working and responsible, does it reflect his culture or personality? I say it’s the latter.

We are cautioned not to stereotype, such as Americans always being “on-time” or Mexicans always being “hard-working.” We need to understand that there are personal differences as well. Cultural differences simply add richness to the mixture.

North-Americans, Dutch, Mexican, Portuguese and many more nationalities working together side by side — not caring about where they came from or what color their skin is — can bring strength to a dairy. 

To get the most out of working with diverse cultures,
we must:

  • Respect each other.
  • Learn about each other’s cultures.
  • Value dignity, strength and contribution of each individual.
  • Celebrate diversity.

Jorge M. Estrada is editor of Manejo Lechero and president of Leadership Coaching International, Inc. He is an organizational development consultant, leadership coach, and trainer.