Ways To Manage Multi-cultural Teams
Your native language and your cultural customs are among the main aspects that make you part of a particular culture. Due to cultural differences, there might be some obstacles to overcome when working in a multicultural team. A multicultural team is a team whose members originate from various countries and cultures. Naturally, these people speak different languages as well.
To be a successful team leader in an environment like this one, do your best to make all your colleagues feel comfortable.
These tips will help you manage a multicultural team, regardless of whether you work in the same office or remotely.
Be Open to All Cultures and Differences
Every culture has its own communication style, such as speaking pattern and nonverbal communication. It’s crucial to understand your colleague’s culture and act according to it.
To manage a multicultural team, you should adapt your management style to each member of your team. To do so, you must show great adaptability and forget about a single managerial style. Indeed, you should opt for a situational management style which adapts to every culture, age, skills and personality.
Valuing differences will help you to build a bond of trust with your team. Identify differences, accept them, explain them and make them a strength.
Build a bond of trust
Creating a bond of trust and enhancing mutual respect is essential for the cohesion of a multicultural team. All your team members must share and apply the values of understanding and respect to avoid any potential conflict. If a conflict arises because of the language barrier for instance, you will have to act as an intermediary while respecting the cultures of each one.
To build trust within your team, encourage speaking up and communicating verbally. Be aware of any signs of misunderstanding and don’t let it fester. You can hold regular one-on-one meetings with your employees to ensure their well-being.
Consider time zone and plan projects according to it.
If you manage a multicultural team, you’re likely to juggle several time zones.
For that, you need to organize your work properly and make plans according to the different time zones your teammates might work in.
Be mindful of other teammates working hours. If your global team feels like their schedule is respected, morale and motivation will be high. Such things will boost productivity and your team’s overall performance.
Invest in project management tools
Having a quick and efficient project management tool will significantly help you manage remote multicultural teams.
With such a tool, it will be easy to organize video calls for meetings or brainstorming or work on shared documents. Choosing an appropriate project management tool is essential for your team’s productivity. Make sure that all of the team have access to these tools and know how to use them.
Free up time for video calls
Although your team lives and works in different locations, it’s better to talk face to face. You should schedule time to meet with your team to see and discuss how each member is doing with their tasks. You can also organize unformal video calls such as coffee breaks to strengthen team cohesion.
Many types of video conferencing tools exist such as Microsoft Team, Skype or Zoom which make such a process easier.
We'd like to hear about your experiences. Let us know what is your biggest challenge when managing a multicultural team.