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How to Manage Effectively: Multi-Cultural & International Teams

We live in a highly-connected global community with labour, goods and services crossing borders and regions like never before. In this international marketplace, organisations will encounter cross-cultural challenges whether internally among staff or externally with partners and clients.

Managing effectively across countries and cultures means adapting to cultural nuances. On this blog we look at management methods that transform the potential liabilities of cross-cultural teams into what they should be: groups of people with unique perspectives that work synergistically together for a stronger team dynamic.

people working together

1. Be Aware, Adopt and Adapt

people attending a workshop

Being aware of cultural differences is the first giant step. As you observe the habits of a diverse team or a new culture, you will find that most differences are not important. For instance, you may be working in a new office on the other side of the globe and be unaccustomed to junior staff calling you boss, or having to wear an identification badge. Neither of these changes the nature of your duties or how you work with others, so be positively indifferent to it - in other words, adopt it and move on.

The cultural differences to focus on when managing effectively across countries and cultures are those that undercut or prevent your ability to work and lead. Be on alert for key cross-cultural challenges and learn to adapt to them, including: