Mono-cultural teams are a thing of the past. Most businesses now work with global teams that contain employees from many cultures including, expats working in a foreign office, or individuals from offices around the world working together on a specific project.
Organising these teams, so that they can work efficiently together, often requires an adaption of working practices, effective leadership, and takes time and effort, but the results can be hugely beneficial to all those involved.
Creating an effective, efficient and content global team requires the following:
1. Cultural Awareness
This is definitely first on the list for good reason; if there is no cultural awareness between team members they will not understand or appreciate the differences that can make them a great team.
The importance of getting to know how, and why, team members operate in a particular way can reduce tension, increase performance, improve collaboration and generate additional productivity – all essential factors for a business!
Distrust and misunderstandings between team members leads to negativity, suspicion, wariness and a ‘them and us’ attitude. Conflict resolution is required to overcome these issues at an early stage before problems become permanent and lead to a breakdown of the team.
Cultural awareness training is one of the most beneficial courses a firm can offer its global team members. Training can cover points such as, understanding verbal and non-verbal forms of communication, the relationship between language and culture, adaptability, unconscious bias, and cultural intelligence.
If you’d like to know more about how cultural awareness training can help your global team, please click here.
2. Improved Business and Personal Relationships
Shared experience is one of the amazing things that can connect people, no matter where in world they consider to be home.
Meeting colleagues outside of the office, for lunch or drinks in the evening, can be a great way to get to know how people think and why, and often leads to improved working relationships as team members are fully aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
If team members aren’t in the same office this ‘humanising’ becomes more difficult.
Effective international firms recognise the importance of these interactions and aim to facilitate meeting opportunities whenever possible. This has become more difficult since the Covid-19 pandemic but firms can still organise ‘virtual’ events and team building opportunities for global teams so they have the chance to get to know each other better.
3. Overcoming Language Barriers
Language barriers can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings.
Slight mistranslations, or crossed wires regarding an individual’s tone of voice or body language, can emphasise cultural differences leading to a deeper divide.
It may not always be possible to learn a new language every time there is a new, foreign team member but making an effort to learn the very basics and getting a grasp on their cultural norms can be a huge benefit to all involved.
4. Effective Leadership
Good leaders know how to motivate and encourage a team, how to reduce conflict, to promote positive working relationships and how to identify a teams’ weaknesses or strengths.
Those in managerial positions who understand their own unconscious biases can help others to recognise theirs, and move past them, giving an opportunity to gain valuable insights into relationships and how they can be improved.
Ensuring that leaders have the skills and strategies to build an effective global team, and understand how to improve existing ones, may take additional training but once this has been delivered and put into practise, it will be cost effective and improve success rates for all multicultural teams.
If you would like to know more about how the Creative Word Training team can help promote effective global teams within your organisation, please contact us here, or check out our cultural awareness courses here.