Multinational teams can be a real asset to a company, providing best professional expertise from around the world as well as varied work experiences and perspectives. But when it comes to their effective management, they can also be very challenging. As team members have to communicate with their colleagues across the globe, they may sometimes struggle with issues that otherwise wouldn’t occur. What are the problems that multinational teams have to deal with? According to research presented by Knowledge@Wharton, such teams don’t share information and knowledge as effectively as they could, and the reason for this is their diversity. The researchers mention four different categories of differences: geographic, nationality-based, structural and demographic. So, there are people from different locations, nationalities, various parts of their organizations and age groups and they all have to communicate effectively. What can be done to make sure multinational teams are managed efficiently?
1. Structure - Integral Part of the Teamwork Process
2. Process - Communictation is the Key
3. Language - Ensure Smooth Communication
4. Identity - Understand Your Team Members
5. Technology - Use Project Management Tools
Structural factors refer to the location and number of sites where team members are based and the number of employees working at each site. The problem that can arise from them is a wrong perception of power of team members. To make sure they don’t have a feeling of a power-imbalance between themselves and their colleagues based in different locations, a team leader has to constantly remind team members that they are a single entity and share a common purpose. Also, he or she should make sure all members of the team are equally involved and regularly contact them to make them feel that their contributions matter.
When your team work as remote worker, make sure all members are equally involved.
Time for informal talk is a vital element for developing an empathy that results in more productive interaction. Yet it’s not so easy in the case of geographically dispersed teams. To encourage it, team leaders should create such moments in the process of virtual meetings. Team members can use different tools to communicate with one another and check in on the collaboration process, but they also need time to unstructured communication that helps build relationships before getting to discussing business.
A successful team leader should also bear in mind that team members need to have a chance to disagree with some parts of the process and contribute their ideas. Modelling the act of questioning can be helpful to really understand any doubts that team members can have and give everyone a chance to get involved.
Some of the problems that geographically dispersed teams face result from varying level of proficiency in the chosen common language. In order for all team members to feel encouraged to voice their opinions, the team leader should make sure that strong speakers use language everyone can understand and adjust their pace of speaking to those less confident. Less fluent speakers should, in turn, feel encouraged to contribute, even if it involves asking them to set goals for the number of comments they make. It’s also important for everyone to seek confirmation whether they’ve been understood and ask for clarification if in doubt. The task of the team leader is also to keep track of who is and isn’t contributing and give everyone a chance to be heard.
A clue to successful team work is understanding other people’s perspectives. However, it’s not always easy and requires deciphering someone’s identity, which is based on a number of factors, such age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, occupation, political ties, etc. Sometimes, particular behaviours may only be understood if we decipher a person’s identity, as otherwise, they can easily be misunderstood.
Therefore, a good team leader should, first of all, avoid making assumptions about particular behaviours and take time to try to understand them. In order to do it, it’s crucial to ask questions and not being afraid of taking the role of a student. Then, he or she make sure everyone in the team is aware of where the misunderstandings may come from and not let them get in the way of effective communication.
Technology plays a vital role in effective communication among members of a multinational team. There are different modes, such as videoconferencing, e-mails, chats, offering either instant or delayed forms of communication. Team leaders should make sure they adapt the format to the team they manage. In the case of geographically dispersed teams, it might be better to rely on delayed communication, as it’s often the most convenient.
What’s also important, is to reinforce the conveyed message, so as to make sure it’s understood and remembered. A savvy leader should use platforms that can help in the process. HeySpace, a project management software with a communication feature, allows to create such a platform and therefore manage teams effectively.
HeySpace is a user-friendly way to enhance your teams’ work and collaboration. It’s an innovative private collaboration tool, which combines management software with chat. Users can benefit from the following features:
Check how HeySpace works. Give HeySpace a try and see how easy and efficient team collaboration can be with the use of good management and communication software.
One of the first apps for attention management you should consider using is an app that will help you monitor your time. To properly direct your attention, you should be able to determine how much time you dedicate to particular activities throughout the day. TimeCamp can easily help you do that and you can manage your multinational teams. TimeCamp is a time tracking software which can help you pay attention to what really matters and stay focused thanks to its essential features:
The only way to get things done effectively is to pay attention to how you’re spending your working hours. It allows you to allocate time to specific tasks, projects, and activities you perform during the day. TimeCamp can help you catch, monitor, and measure your attention. Because the way you spend your time affects your productivity. Hence, tracking your time and how you use it in life is the only way to reorganize your work and determine priorities.
TimeCamp helps you manage attention in a convenient and easy way. You can also use the software to manage such areas of work as budgeting, planning and scheduling, invoicing, and managing tasks and projects. Everything you need to pay attention to in just one place.
Sign up for TimeCamp to make the most out of your work!
Watch the video tutorial to see how TimeCamp works: