A Guide to Managing a Global Team
Teamwork makes the dream work right? It’s a story as old as time itself. The better the individuals that make up your team, the greater the success you can achieve. With globalization in full swing, you may find your best talent overseas.
Corporations everywhere are realizing that there’s simply not enough quality talent to go around in their immediate surroundings. Everyone wants the best individuals to work for them. Unfortunately, if there are ten companies and five people who you can qualify as the best, then five companies will miss out. In the past, these companies would have had to settle for the next best thing.
This is no longer the case. Global teams are now more common than ever before. Their appeal is obvious; why settle for anyone but the best? Of course, managing a global team is harder than managing one at home. This is why we’ve prepared this guide. Find out the common challenges of managing a global team and how you can overcome them.
Global Team Management: Challenges
While creating global teams is certainly a rewarding task, it presents certain challenges that business leaders and managers need to be familiar with. These are as follows:
- Coordination and Communication
- Culture and Values
Let’s take a look at each one more closely.
Coordination and Communication
Communicating with team members scattered all over the world is a lot harder than it is with members in the same office building. Matters like time differences and language barriers can stifle decision-making and weaken workflows.
All managers recognize the importance of effective communication. Global team managers must go above and beyond in this department to ensure things run smoothly.
Compensation is a big problem area around global team management. The trouble doesn’t really come from the pay itself but rather from principles of equity and motivation. It is a lot harder to ensure that everyone is compensated fairly when they’re in different regions, earning in different currencies, and residing in areas with vastly different standards of living.
Cultural nuances add an extra layer of complication to the process. Not everyone will be comfortable talking about money. It’s the manager’s job to ensure that all these issues are navigated well so that each member feels appreciated and valued.
Culture and Values
This area has two layers. The first is the culture of the individual, and the second is the culture of the company. It is hard to create a global corporate culture without making adjustments for the diversity of each individual that make up the team.
First, when managing global teams, managers need to ensure that each culture is accommodated and celebrated. Secondly, all employees, regardless of culture, need to be on the same page regarding corporate practices.
This means that proper attention needs to be devoted to cultural integration where the team learns more about the corporate culture as well as the culture of each team member.
This involves dealing with the legal aspects of employing people across different regions. Each country will have its own laws that demand compliance. Compliance laws can range from work hours to vacation days. The bottom line is: managers need to be proactive and keep track of the range of rules and regulations that apply to their team. Failure to do so can result in legal action against the company.
Global Team Management: Strategies
Here are a few tips on managing a global team.
The only solution to a communication problem is to communicate more. Due to the sheer distance between team members, it is important that lines of communication are open and actively utilized. Of course, we’re not recommending communicating just for the sake of it.
Communicate to monitor progress, track challenges and problems, offer and receive general updates, and share knowledge. When communicating, you should also remain cognizant of differences in time zones.
In summary, communicate constantly but flexibly. Following this approach ensures that you create the ideal platform for success.
It’s hard to work with someone who you know nothing about. It’s harder when opportunities to get to know team members are few and far between. When everything is done virtually, members must have unstructured conversations and discussions that allow for the individual to shine through.
The same applies to managers. Your team should be able to see the person just as much as the boss. So not only must you create situations where team members can talk to each other openly, but you must also take time to talk about yourself.
In this way, you’ll be able to foster trust and belief in each other, leading to better communication and business results.
Acknowledge, Include, Celebrate
The most important word to remember when it comes to global team management is diversity. Acknowledge that members of your team come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Aim to include and accommodate each member’s culture. Make active efforts to celebrate the diversity of your team.
In doing so, you can turn things that may become points of division into points of strength. The larger success here will be that each member feels at home and is willing to give their best effort to service the team’s goals.
Global team management is not easy, but it can be. Willingness to be flexible and empathetic can prove to be incredibly useful in the short and long term. For more information on how to develop a global team for your business, contact us.