Global teams – 5 things to think about
We live and work in a global world. In fact our world seems to get smaller all the time as we work across many borders. Many senior managers within multinational organisations have regional responsibilities. They must build efficient virtual teams. And they need to do this alongside appreciating that there are differences not only in geography and time, but in technology, culture, language and diversity too. What are the things you should keep in mind when managing virtual teams?
Michael Dickmann from Cranfield University School of Management provides a few pointers for us to think about in his article from Changeboard. We have summarized key points for you here. Please feel welcome to top them up with your tips too.
- Make sure your message is understood.
Misunderstandings happen in both written and verbal communication. Make sure that you are in touch regularly with managers to check your messages are interpreted correctly. Don’t rely always much on email, use other forms of communicating like Skype too. Personal contact makes a difference.
The business language we use could be second or third language for your manager, or even for you. Always use simple and clear words and language. Provide adequate time to digest information such as reports, documents and agendas before meetings.
- Get to know the members of your team and build trust
Open and clear communication also builds trust. It also comes from setting standards and norms that are adhered to. Trust is an essential component for well functioning teams but it is not built overnight. Consistently supporting your team members and acting with their interests and concerns at heart goes a long way to establishing the trust we need.
- Build diverse teams
More diverse teams are better for innovation. Can you mix your team composition up a bit? Think about blending different styles and interests, and set the tone for interaction that is collaborative, friendly and orientated towards learning.
- Lead – and lead well
In addition to building trust through your consistent and fair action and communication, think about the guidance your team needs from you. How do you provide that?
Also ask yourself how can you enable your team through providing the right conditions for success. Are there any barriers you can work to lift for them so that they can give of their best?
- Balance work and life
Although technological advancements have improved our connection and collaboration, they are unlikely to completely replace the need to travel for face-to-face contact. And travelling frequently can take its toll. It pulls time away from work actions and from your personal life and interests. But travel also opens up career opportunities and exposure.
Assist your employees to balance the two and to evaluate what may be best at each stage of their career.
What are your tips for managing remote teams? Can you share them with us?