China Family problems influence hiring deeply due to the background Chinese people are coming from. I think we need to think about that more when interviewing and hiring and coaching Chinese people.
I read an article entitled Everyone Hurts that inspired me to write this post.
Here is one quote from within.
Will Smith said, “Never underestimate the pain of a person, because in all honesty, everyone is struggling. Some people are better at hiding it than others.”
The article lists some statistics showing pain in the US. I want to give you some sense of what is happening on the ground in China.
China Family – More Trouble Than Meets the Eye
In 2004, I started hiring college graduates to be office managers and went deep understanding them as needed to manage them remotely. I was stunned as I asked them to describe their family lives. In a word or two they would lay the base. Family? meaningless, dangerous, fearful, terror. I was taught when I first came to China in 1991 by a Chinese leader, “Jim, in China every man has one wife, and every man has a lover on the side.”
So the divorce rate is rising fast, but the past your managers came from is families with little divorce and no love or harmony in the home. These are often places where physical violence is not uncommon. Marriages in the 90’s were for social reasons and nothing more. Mothers were emotionally wed to their children and fathers were emotionally bonded to their birth family with no internal intimacy or healthy family model. Schools teach children by criticizing them and screaming at them as needed. They then do the same to the parents. Parents under this pressure then criticize their kids in every way they can to get them to move. A common line of attack from mothers to their elementary school child would be, “Hey Stupid, if you don’t focus on your character copying, I will not love you anymore!! ” She would shove her index finger into his forehead saying this in anger to make her point. She does not want to be this way but this is her cultural inheritance.
All China Women’s Federation says 25% of women face domestic violence. Talking around the office, we think 60% is a closer figure. A quiet college professor wept as he told me that he has struck his wife. The pattern is like this. Wives criticize and beat and belittle their husbands every day to their face and especially to the children. The men get beat down and beat down and snap —and beat their wives. Then they are remorseful and get criticized every day and the cycle recurs like in the image above. Also absentee fathers are another result.
So do Chinese people have hurts? Sure, and they are hiding them as best they can. However, they have been hurt and their emotional foundation is weaker than you would ever guess. They can invite you to their home and show you their perfect family and then harshly criticize and even strike these members after you leave.
Chinese families are ever so slowly getting better and not all are places of terror. However, you can be certain that everybody you hire hurts and everyone needs a little more understanding. That does not mean you cannot lead them and seek great achievements with them. When properly led, Chinese workers can be among the most diligent in the world.
Naturally, that they have all been taught to politically answer all questions adds to the puzzle of interviewing, hiring and leading here.
One quick specific point. If you are interviewing a person in English who needs to speak basic English, Start slow and easy with your English. They have a lot more English than you know. They will gain confidence to speak as they go and then you can push harder gradually.