Going Global – 5 Tips For Successfully Managing An International Team

Not only have advancements in technology made doing business from anywhere possible, but they have also given companies the ability to hire and work with talent across the globe. We are no longer limited to local talent – virtual workspaces allow colleagues to collaborate on projects no matter how far apart they may live. 

While the benefits are numerous for this type of business growth, it does pose some specific challenges. Below, we discuss several tips to help you manage an international team. 

  1. Check-in Regularly with the Team

Managing an international team requires some outside-the-box thinking. Some of your team may be in-office, while others may be scattered across the globe. It’s important to check in regularly with everyone to ensure they are on the same page, no matter where they work. 

Whether you’re operating out of one of the best serviced offices in Melbourne or from your humble home office, gathering everyone for regular virtual meetings will help your employees feel more engaged and build trust amongst the team. 

  1. Give Team Members Purpose

Remote workers often feel disconnected from their teams, which can lead to a lack of motivation and decreased productivity. To help your team feel needed and valued, explain how their roles and contributions are furthering the company’s mission. Don’t hesitate to call out and acknowledge those who go above and beyond – their actions directly impact the continued success of your company. With the entire team given purpose in this manner, they should feel important and motivated

  1. Encourage Participation

One of the biggest challenges of managing an international team is the language barrier. As the manager, it’s your job to make sure everyone understands the conversation and can contribute equally. Try to choose a common language that most of your team members can use. For those that don’t know the language well, be sure to call on them specifically to ensure their voices are heard. Have everyone limit the use of slang terms and talk slowly so those who aren’t as fluent can follow along. The more comfortable your team members are with communicating, the more likely they are to participate in the discussion. 

  1. Encourage Small Talk and Empathy

Empathy is a vital quality to have, so encourage it in the workplace. Being a part of an international team can be challenging, but if everyone is patient and understanding, things tend to run more smoothly. This attitude will foster a sense of workplace inclusivity, which is just as important for remote employees as it is for in-house teams. 

Allow your team a few minutes before meetings to engage in small talk. Getting to know each other on a more personal level will help your team develop a better understanding of each other. This leads to trust and an increased ability to overcome the obstacles that arise from being separated by great distances. 

  1. Respect Cultural Differences

International teams often feature people from many different backgrounds, religions, and cultures. Not respecting these differences can leave some team members feeling left out, ignored, and offended. 

Different cultures perceive communication practices differently, so encourage an environment of open dialogue without judgment or discrimination. Be aware of the various customs and national holidays observed by your team members, and ensure that they feel respected and seen. 

Managing an international team can be challenging as members are spread far and wide and come from many different backgrounds. By fostering an environment of empathy, shared purpose, and open communication, you can build a trusting atmosphere where everyone feels respected and heard. 

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