Businesses are becoming increasingly global, causing teams to be spread around the world. This leads to greater success along with some unique challenges. In order to lead these teams, managers must learn to balance different cultures, time zones, computer software, and relationship styles.
When it comes to managing different cultures in a team the best way is to learn and immerse one’s self into the culture, this will allow complete understanding of where others come from. If you learn the country’s cultural tendencies, you will understand why team members are doing certain things. In some cultures for instance, people do not waste time in e-mails with small talk. E-mails are very direct and to the point. If one does not know that is a cultural norm of this person, they may feel uncomfortable in the situation, and take offense. It is a good idea to take note at the beginning of the project, of team members’ communication and working styles that way everyone is familiar and comfortable working with each other.
Having people working across all different time zones is a challenge in itself. Members are going to have to be on meeting calls very early, extremely late, and during inconvenient times. With such a small window of opportunity to meet with each other, it is very important for everyone’s sake to manage time fairly. Managers should rotate the times of meetings in order to change which member has to wake up early, or stay up late; producing a happier, more willing group of members who know their time is valued.
One thing to ensure the success of a globally dispersed team is to share common software with all members. Cloud-based software will be the most beneficial due to the geographical scope of members. Think also about standardizing communication tools as well. Using the same software throughout the team will allow for everyone to be on the same page and to become comfortable using software that allows them to communicate and show their opinions to the rest of the team. Another important aspect in safeguarding that team goals is to stay in constant contact with each other. Make sure people are continuously checking in with each other. This needs to be done face-to-face at least once or twice per year. This will help keep interest and motivation high as well as keep everyone on the same path and allowing everyone to contribute to the long-term goal of the team.
To learn about country cultures, check out the culture tab on specific country pages under the Global Insights Country pages. globalEDGE also provides a resource to a time zone converter for users. Also, be sure to read this blog detailing how time zones impact international business. All these resources on globalEDGE provide useful insight on managing international teams in an increasingly globalized world.