Global working has become more and more popular in recent years, as more companies make use of international teams and online working methods.
Working in an international team, where the exchange of knowledge and information is central, is a great goal. However, working in a global team can also present challenges. Consider, for example, different time zones, cultural differences and working methods. It requires a lot of patience and understanding of different cultures, communication styles, and work ethics.
It can be difficult to bridge the gap between different cultures and work together effectively. However, with the right tips and strategies, you can build strong and successful relationships in global teams. In this article, we’ll share some tips for working effectively with colleagues around the world.
Let’s have a cultural start
With more than 5000 cultures on our globe, it’s smart to take into account a diversity of communication and behavior during collaboration. English is spoken in many global teams, but a certain expression can be misunderstood in a different culture. In addition, each culture has a different working method and character.
With all the advancements in technology and globalization, the world has become a smaller place. The more connected we become, the more likely it is that people from different cultures will have to interact with each other on a regular basis. In this connected world, it’s important to understand the cultural differences between people from different countries. It’s important to remember that not all differences are negative; instead, they can be used to create a positive experience for both parties involved.
Richard D. Lewis, professor specialized in communications and culture, speaks of three main types of culture in our workplace. These three types of culture can help us to get a picture of the other cultures, but it’s good to keep in mind that they’re not isolated.
These are the real planners that focus on tasks. This group likes to get things done through a structure and pre-made plan. The linear-actives rely a lot on facts and logic. Germans and Swiss make extensive use of this working style.
This group are the real emotional workers. They are task-oriented and based on feelings at the same time. Multi-active workers are often family people: family comes before work. In addition, these workers are the group that talks the most during work. Spanish and Brazilians are good examples of this working group
The reactive workers are polite and attentive listeners. Harmony and avoiding shame for oneself or others is the core. This group often forms from Asian culture such as the Japanese and Chinese.
When working with colleagues in different countries, you’ll likely encounter language barriers. Even though you may both be fluent in English, your colleagues may speak another language. If you don’t understand the language being used in the project, it can be challenging to work effectively.
To avoid any communication barriers, you can try to schedule meetings in both your native language and the language your colleagues speak. This way, you can both understand what’s being discussed.
Using the right communication tools
Communication is one of the most important aspects of working with colleagues in a team. When you communicate effectively with your colleagues, you can build trust. When working with people in different countries, you’ll likely have to use different communication tools.
To avoid confusion, you should make an effort to learn how to communicate in the language your colleagues speak. You can also create visuals to make your communication easier to understand.
Understand their culture
When dealing with people from different cultures, you need to create a positive work environment. In this way, you can minimize conflict and build trust with your colleagues. Start by making an effort to understand the cultural differences between your team members.
Understanding your team members’ culture, beliefs, and values will help you become more culturally aware. In addition, doing so will encourage team members to open up and share their thoughts and ideas. They will appreciate your interest!
Create the strongest team
Collaborating with colleagues is an important part of any project. It’s important to connect with your team members, and using their strengths is one way to do this. It’s easy to notice the strengths of each team member when working together. It’s also important to notice the weaknesses of each team member, so that team development could become a progressive goal.
Patience is key
In teams with multiple cultures, patience is very important. Time is needed to get to know each other and to use the cultural differences effectively. This requires interest and trust.
Being patient and open-minded will help you manage difficult situations and work through challenges with your team members.
When working with colleagues who have short-term goals, you need to prioritize the long-term goals of your company and project. By doing so, you can focus on the big picture and make sure that your team members are working towards those goals as well.
The best success is together
Success is the best way to celebrate a project and a successful collaboration. When celebrating a project and collaboration that has been successful, team members should make an effort to acknowledge each other for their contributions to the project. Success is celebrated in every culture and as a multidisciplinary team this is even more difficult to reach.
So, let’s celebrate!