We see more cross-cultural teams in today’s organizations. As the world becomes more and more universal, people are seeing a growing uniformity in lifestyles across borders, and cultures from all around the world are more revealing. This might lead to a misconception that we all think the same way, and therefore the challenges of working across cultures gets depreciated. Spending some time at the onset of teamwork getting to know each other’s cultures is one way of dealing with this.
Strategies To Do it Effectively
A major concern in managing a cross-cultural team is to bring together all the distinct personalities. Since there are varied beliefs and styles of communication in force, cross -cultural teams are prone to conflict. There are simple ways to minimize this conflict and manage a cross-cultural team successfully. Steering a cross-cultural team in the right direction, can lead to greater efficiency. Organizations are afraid to execute diversity with a fear that introducing people who may not agree with each other will hinder productivity. As opposed to this, having different types of people on the same team can help others look at problems wisely, while also being more innovative and comprehensive about their solutions.
Here are some tips to encourage cross-cultural working relationships:
- Getting to Know Team Members : It is essential for the team leader to get acquainted with each team member. This will help them study individual skills and utilize the knowledge to help the group. Leaders can disclose specialized skills that can be advantageous to everyone and also understand the personality of the member at the same time.
- Promote Open Communication : Every team member must be given a chance to express their opinions. An open communication line is necessary otherwise team members feel undervalued and dominated by either the management or the controlling members in the group.
- Encourage Team Building Activities : When varied cultures are trying to come together in a team, organizations should make every effort to create opportunities for informal interactions. Happy hours, team trips, lunch and learn, birthday parties, etc. help employees to bond with each other regardless of their differences. Encourage team members to interact during their break time and through social events.
- Listen Actively : Don’t let faulty beliefs and biases to control your decision making. Biases can destroy trust and obstruct collaboration. Instead, a leader should try to understand why certain members of a team work differently. If you neglect the local cultures and needs that affect each team member, it can lead to unnecessary conflict. Listen to your team members, ask questions and develop the resilience to manage across different cultures and learn different ways to motivate groups with different thought processes.
- Create a Structure for Success : When you have a cross cultural team, you are sure to have different work styles. This doesn’t mean everybody should work according to their own routine. It is up to the leader to establish clear rules and help the members to follow them. When establishing the norms, try to execute practices from multiple cultures to create conformity.
- Tackle Conflict Immediately : If a conflict appears regardless of your efforts, make sure to handle it promptly before it is too late. Understand different cultural perspectives and try to resolve the issues by taking the middle path. A leader should serve as a cultural link to connect different members of the team and bring harmony.
- Create a Cross-Cultural Awareness Program : Awareness can include trainings on greetings, business amenity and dining customs. This will help to eradicate the tension and educate members on the prevailing cultural styles of other team members. Organizations will be able to create adaptable global teams and better relationships with customers worldwide.
- Clearly Define Responsibility of Members : Having a shared goal and a common objective will give your team members a uniqueness that can bring them together and let each team member know that their contribution matters. Break down the common goal into actionable steps that depicts each member’s role and responsibilities. This way, everyone will collaborate and work together without interfering in each other’s territory.
- Build Great Rapport and Trust : Building work relations and trust cannot happen suddenly. Build an environment for collaboration slowly. Regard individual differences and understand them to build unity in a culturally diverse team.
The growth of cross-cultural teams might bring challenges, but it can be tackled successfully with sensibility and respect for other cultures. Having a cross-cultural team is the best opportunity to learn varied backgrounds, innovate new remedies and generate success. It’s time to contemplate cross-cultural teams as an asset and not a liability.