Advice for dealing with Chinese staff

Posted in: Forums > Living in Chengdu • 6 posts • NewestRSS

  • invisible
    May 10, 2015
    1534 posts

    I've been dealing with some Chinese staff recently and language problems aside find it difficult to deal with their work "ethics". Any advice is welcome.

  • RobertaM
    May 11, 2015
    15 posts

    First of all- get the "US - THEM" out of your head because unless you're willing to give up your job for these 'ethic' problems then you'll still have to work with them.

    Although it's kind of hard to give advice when we don't know the nature of the 'ethics' you're having a problem with.

    Personally I quit a 25,000rmb/ month job because of an ethics problem just last year. Do I wish I could have turned a blind eye to it and just carried on like the rest of the foreign teachers (yeah I kind of do now that I don't have a job) but I've never been that kind of person.

    TRY to gauge what you're willing to live with- and what absolutely crosses the line. (Mine was giving passing grades to ALL students even though most barely showed up and did no actual homework or class work)

    Next try to see the situation from their perspective- sometimes they are not the one creating the problem, they simply have to deal with it or lose their job...which they will NOT be willing to do. If it's one of those problems then try going up the leadership ladder to see if you can express your concerns.

    Another thing you can do if others feel the same is have a meeting and discuss the situation. You might be better received IF they don't see you alone trying to cause problems. Remember Chinese culture is not about a single person but the group as a whole.

    If it's a single person ethics problem- also remember that Chinese do not respond well to criticism. Sugar coat it as much as possible. Point out their strong areas, give them plenty of praise and offer a 'helpful suggestion'. They might respond better to this type of suggestion simply because they like to be looked up to.

    Also don't stop with complaints- everyone has an opinion and they all stink. Your best bet would be to come up with SOLUTIONS. Take the initiative and do the homework to help make those changes as painless as possible. And don't assume just because you think it's wrong- that it is. Remember that in YOUR culture it works one way but this is not your culture and trying to change it might be like moving mountains...just a dream.

  • invisible
    May 19, 2015
    1534 posts

    Thanks for the detailed reply. My work ethics problem is def of different nature, and cultural differences aside at the end of the day you can express biz probs in

    numbers, namely efficiency/ productivity - but that very obvious point seems to be overlooked actively and passively.

  • TLC Education
    May 20, 2015
    2 posts


    Good reply and advice. I'd just add, when giving feeback that's negative, try to "sandwich" it between positive feedback, or at least end with positive feedback. Works wonders..Also always speak privately with people, never in front of others.

  • invisible
    May 24, 2015
    1534 posts


    But if everyone keeps speaking privately, basically there is no public opinion/ conversation - only a secret society with forming coalition/ conspiracies. I think this "method" essentially destroys the possibility for substantial improvement and leads to old school power struggles.

  • realps
    June 12, 2015
    11 posts

    Suck it up and keep going.
    I hate to say this but I just did.
    Frankly speaking, this is a big issue that none of us can solve or improve without the whole Chinese societ's effort.
    So maybe you can just ignore and enjoy the rest part of your life here.
    You won't live here forever I suppose, will ya?

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