Best practices to manage a multicultural team

03/21/2019

Best practices to manage a multicultural team

We have talked before about the difficulties of managing a multicultural team, and how important it is to do it right to make sure that the company culture works and flows correctly.

But how do we include everyone and make different cultures and people to work together smoothly? Well it is all about how we manage our team, so today we are sharing our 4 best practices to manage a multicultural team and lead it to success.

Best practices to manage a multicultural team

  1. Don’t just expect your team to react the way you wish, be open and clear about what you need from them.

There are many positive reasons to build a multicultural team, it is rich and extremely resourceful, but it can also raise many communication difficulties as in different cultures exist different types of management, and ways to give feedback.

Also in different cultures, words and reactions might be taken differently, what is normal and appreciated in some cultures might be offending in others.

So set your own company culture straight and make sure to explain everything right from the beginning. Don’t assume anything, as we said, nothing should “a given” when it comes to dealing with different cultures.

It would also definitely help if as the head of the team we do some research in our teams original cultures to figure out things whenever we see a confusing reaction from a team member to see if there is a cultural misunderstanding or an actual work conflict. Approach things from an open perspective.

  1. Choose a neutral language and apply it with everyone

As much as we should keep each team member’s cultural background in mind, it is important to keep a neutral tone that is common with everyone in the company no matter what.

Choose a style management and stick to it through the process, and at the same time limit humor, jokes and double senses as they can mean and sound very different depending on the culture.

This is something we should definitely keep in mind and be clear about it even before we hire and on the onboarding process.

  1. Be open and sympathize

Every employee with appreciate some understanding when it comes to complicated situation linked to cultural differences. It is not about us becoming a referee or a parent, but just take a moment to understand that some things or situations might come across much more complex for some employees for cultural reasons.

This doesn’t necessarily means that we should adapt our management style or the entire company to every member of the team’s culture, but just let them know that we appreciate their efforts, and so they will appreciate us realizing and caring about that.

At the end of the day is about adjusting and acknowledging that we are all different but we can successfully work together and grow much more by learning from each other backgrounds and cultures.

  1. Be mindful of each of the cultures in your team’s holidays

Regardless of where you or the company are based and the agreed common holidays stated by the company (which we strongly suggest to clarify to each candidate during the hiring process), it is not only nice but definitely positive to keep each culture in the team’s original holidays.

Obviously we can not actually apply every holiday from every culture present in the team, because otherwise we will be working very few days a year, but we can definitely keep their holidays in mind when it comes to travelling or big meetings and try to unofficially adapt when possible. It will create a much better mood and our employees will highly appreciate it.