Indonesia has a large, mostly low-skilled labor pool with a generally relaxed work ethic.

Indonesia has a vast labor pool with great potential. However, you’ll need to hone your management skills to be effective in Indonesia. With the world’s fourth-biggest population, finding workers is easy. But finding skilled employees is more challenging. Furthermore, qualified managers can be in short supply. It can be difficult finding managers in this team-oriented culture. Indonesians generally have a more relaxed work ethic than some of their Asian neighbors. Work attitudes vary from person to person, influenced by factors ranging from education to work experience.

Furthermore, it’s important to avoid mistaking the Indonesian’s relaxed demeanor for lack of work ethic. Meeting deadlines and quality standards can pose challenges too. For example, Indonesians might find lower levels of quality or performance acceptable. The best way to boost productivity is through training and education, and give clear instructions about responsibilities, expectations and deadlines.

Managers are expected to be authoritarian, and take a paternalistic interest in employees’ lives.

To manage Indonesians effectively, you must understand the culture’s management style. Bosses are expected to be authoritarian, and subordinates obedient. Decisions often rest with one senior official, and employees avoid questioning authority. At the same time, managers are expected to be benevolent, father-like figures, becoming involved in the personal lives of employees. For example, bosses are often expected to attend important events such as weddings and funerals.

To delegate effectively, one should ease the fear of mistakes and criticize only in private.

One of the greatest challenges in Indonesia is delegating. Indonesians are reluctant to take responsibility. They’re hesitant to make decisions, preferring to receive instructions from others. Furthermore, they might avoid asking questions or seeking clarification to prevent embarrassment. The reason for this is fear of making mistakes. As a result, it’s essential to inspire confidence. Furthermore, it’s critical to follow up consistently to make sure the job is done.

To ensure accurate feedback, a network of trusted confidantes should be cultivated.

Getting feedback is also difficult. To avoid embarrassment, Indonesians tend to give their superiors only favorable reports. This is a concept known as “keeping father happy.” They will avoid giving bad news, because they feel they might be blamed. To get accurate information and feedback, the manager must cultivate a network of trusted confidantes. These confidantes will be especially effective if they’ve studied or lived overseas, since they will better understand the western preference for directness. Another technique is to ask the same question many different ways to best assess the truth. Indonesians also are more likely to give bad news one-on-one, rather than in front of others. A private setting is also best for giving criticism to employees.

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