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Succeeding as a Foreign Leader in Thailand

Aug 14, 2020 | 10m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Common mistakes foreign leaders make when managing in Thailand
  • The core Thai values that underlie all business and working relationships
  • What cultural empathy is and how it will help you communicate and lead effectively


Navigating Thailand’s Unique Culture

As a country that has no colonial history, Thailand has developed a unique culture with its own traditions and values. These values permeate through every aspect of daily living, including work and business. In order to be a successful leader in Thailand, you must be aware of these values, appreciate their meaning, and be considerate of their differences from your own. This is known as cultural empathy. People of a different culture will interpret your actions and words differently from how you may assume. It is up to you to understand how to navigate these nuances in order to communicate and lead effectively.

The best place to learn about these nuances and the strategies to tackle them are from the experts. If you are a foreigner who is about to work in Thailand (or any other overseas environment), I would highly recommend taking a cross-cultural management course, especially if you have never worked in a culture that is unfamiliar to you. These courses will equip you with a more refined sense of cultural empathy, as well as how you should adjust your management practices in order to improve your work-related interactions with people from different cultures.

The next chapter will give you a better understanding of Thai cultural norms that are especially relevant for those in management and leadership roles.

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Simon Denye

Former VP & MD

Dole Thailand



Leading in Asia