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Manage and Lead Virtual and Multicultural Teams

· Leadership

Whether you are a general manager, HR manager, international project manager, executives or directors, one thing is common, you all have to manage and lead virtual and multicultural teams. Right?

Well, this is not an easy task to do, as you are managing a team from distance.

It’s a more like a long distance relationship! You have to be careful in each phase and take care of your team and provide them with a timely solution, regardless of the distance.

Today, working in a multicultural virtual team has become a major trend. Global leaders are managing teams virtually with complete flexibility and balance. They remotely manage their teams and do the best to prevent miscommunications and language barriers that may arise unnecessary challenges.

Benefits of having a multicultural workforce

Think: Why global leaders give preference to a multicultural workforce? Well, there are many good reasons to do that. Let’s have a look:

1. Cross cultural competency- When you work with a multicultural team, you'll get precise and deep knowledge of market and product along with multitude experiences and backgrounds. Also, multicultural teams are considered more productive and lucrative. This has been proved in a report of McKinsey in 2015. According to this report, the top 25% for racial and ethnic diversity management was likely to be 35% more active when it comes to financial returns more than their industry average.

2. Cultural diversity Increases innovation- In a study published in Economic Geography, the authors stated that Cultural diversity increases innovation. It indicates that businesses that run by the multicultural team were more likely to develop new inventions compared to homogenous leadership.

3. Satisfying customer experience- Different cultural minds means increased knowledge, enhanced business capabilities, and timely service delivery. All these together are sufficient to satisfy customer experience.

Challenges of having a multicultural workforce

Well, where there are benefits, there are some pitfalls too. Working in a multicultural workforce comes with some challenges that often leave business managers in a doubt if they should consider multicultural workforce?

The most common challenges are cohesion, performance, diversity and working globally.

If there is no any careful consideration of how the team should work, misunderstandings and internal misalignment could happen.

It will impact the environment and the bottom line. So, before finding the solutions, make sure you know what challenges you might faces.

Let’s talk about them in detail.

Language barrier

Let’s say your remote team is from different countries, like Japan, India, America etc. Definitely, you must meet some language fluency issue. The non-native speakers might struggle to let others understand their point. In a collaborative environment, it can be a great issue as your team members are from different countries and speak different languages. This could drop the motivation as well as morale levels.

Decision-making approaches

When working in multicultural, your decision-making approach and communication codes will clash. The reason is- you don’t have a sound discussion to settle on the same decision. This is one of the major challenges general manager, HR manager, international project manager, executives or directors faces while working in cross-culture.

Recently a Harvard Business review article sheds some light on this challenge. According to the post, different cultures have a different point of views which leads to different decisions. In such cases, settling on a choice is a matter of time and efforts consumed.

Hierarchy and authority

These are another challenges often faced by the cross-cultures team. Although, every work culture varies. In some culture, you can see employers pitching an idea directly walking into CEO’s office. In some culture, proper methodological presentations are needed on each level.

How to overcome these challenges?

Yes, you can overcome these cross-culture challenges without applying any rocket science. How? Let’s have a quick look:

1. Give a customized touch to your management style

If you want to survive in cross-culture workforce, you need to listen and adapt. It means you need to ask employees for their feedback or input if any. It allows them to exchange their ideas. Moreover, as a business manager, you need to treat every employer like an individual rather than a group.

2. Engage the team once in a while

As a general manager, HR manager, international project manager, executives or director, it’s your duty to engage your cross-culture team once in a while. Building strong personal relationships are important if you want a win-win situation for your business. It can be possible by organizing some weekly video chats or some video gaming tournaments. To make engagement more impactful, you can also use collaboration tools like Microsoft teams, Jive and social media platforms.

3. Build trust

Communication in virtual teams is not based on body language or any specific language. It can often lead to misunderstandings. The three most important aspects you need here are- Team, process and the technology. For a successful team, you need trust and to build trust communication is very important. If you have trust, you can understand your team members and rely on them. For the virtual workplace, trust is the paramount aspect.

U DIverse will be having a workshop that will cover all the aspects that help you to become a great international leader. From managing your virtual team to getting the most outcomes, international coaches can discuss all matters related to it. You can register through this link, and be a part of a workshop that will change your life for good!
 

We support global organizations holistically who want to achieve their goals of working internationally by hiring and developing global talents, leaders and multicultural teams. We offer not only customized, top-quality international talent acquisition strategy, global leadership, teams, cross-cultural and diversity consulting and training programs, but we also provide in-depth coaching from ICF-certified coaches and trainers who speak French, English, Dutch, Spanish and German. Take action and schedule a free strategy session with us today.

About U Diverse’s founder:

Magali Toussaint is the founder of U Diverse. She is a certified talent acquisition strategist, an ICF-certified leadership and career coach, cross-cultural trainer and job search strategist with an extensive career in recruitment, HR, diversity, and education. She has lived and worked in over four countries and speaks French, English and Dutch.

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