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10 Tips for Successfully Managing a Global Team

Cubo writersOct 11, 2022

Having a global team can be extremely rewarding, but it also comes with unique challenges. If you’re tasked with managing such a team, you must find ways to manage your employees while maintaining an understanding of their cultural differences and communication styles. This can present some difficulties if you don’t plan ahead and know what to expect.

However, by following these 10 tips for successfully managing a global team, you can grow your business with the help of your international employees instead of letting cultural differences derail your efforts.

Be realistic

The first step to successfully managing a global team is being realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish. Trying to do too much will only lead to frustration and failure. Set achievable goals and create a plan that will help you reach them. This doesn't mean making yourself feel small or like you're not capable of anything, but rather understanding what your strengths are, and focusing on those areas. If you try to focus on everything at once, you'll find yourself unable to keep up with the pace of change and failing at achieving your goals because of it.

Understand that time zones matter

One of the most important things to keep in mind when managing a global team is that time zones matter. This may seem obvious, but it's easy to forget when you're dealing with different time zones on a daily basis. While you may be working late at night, your team in another part of the world may be just getting started for the day. It's important to be aware of this and to adjust your communication accordingly.

Set expectations from the start

When you're first starting to manage a global team, it's important to set expectations from the start. This means being clear about deadlines, deliverables, and what is expected of each team member. It also means setting up systems and processes that everyone can follow.

Communicate often and clearly

The time zone difference can make communicating a challenge. Find out what time the people in your team are most active and schedule your communications accordingly. Some team members may be more responsive to emails, while others may prefer social media or texting. Think about the different ways you can reach out to each member of your team and try them all until you find the right mix for each person on your team.

Get to know people in other countries

Understanding the people you work with is essential to any good working relationship, but it's especially important when managing a global team. After all, cultural differences can impact the way people communicate and work together.

An illustration of people from different-parts of the worldThe country or culture of your employees will affect their communication style, values, expectations, and work habits. Some examples include: In Japan, people are more likely to say thank you in person after receiving help or assistance than in other countries where they might be more inclined to just write a thank-you note.

In China, there is an emphasis on saving face which means they're less likely to voice an opinion that may make them seem incompetent or incapable in front of others. And in many European countries, time is considered valuable and deadlines are typically not as strict as they would be in other parts of the world.

Don’t ignore cultural differences

‍The culture of your team members is important to understand how they will react to you and the company. Be aware of cultural differences when hiring and make sure that your employees are culturally aware as well. It can be difficult to bridge the cultural gap between work and home, but it’s worth it. Taking time to understand different perspectives will increase productivity, respect, and motivation among your team members.

Acknowledge international holidays/differences

The business world is global and multinational. As such, it’s important to take into account the varying cultures of your employees from around the world. It’s easy to get bogged down in how things are done in your country, but there are some small things you can do to be culturally sensitive for those working for you abroad.

For example, if you have employees in Germany and Italy, it’s not a good idea to assume that both countries celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day. Italians may observe this holiday on November 8th while Germans will enjoy it on October 25th. Make sure you research which holidays apply to each country so that you don’t unintentionally offend any of your international staff members with a faux pas or misstep!

Mentor all employees, not just those on your team

When you're managing a team that's spread out across the globe, it's important to remember that every single employee is working towards the same goal: the success of the company. And while it's important to mentor and support those on your team, it's just as important to mentor and supports those who aren't. By doing so, you'll not only build a stronger team but a stronger company overall.

Listen and respond quickly to feedback

As the leader of a global team, it's important to be open to feedback from your employees. Not only will this help you improve as a leader, but it will also show your team that you're invested in their success. Quickly responding to feedback shows that you're listening and that you care about what your team has to say. 

Manage yourself, not just others

Manage  Yourself, Not Just Others: Keep an open mind. When leading a global team, it's important to understand the cultural norms of each team member's country. How people communicate and interact with one another can vary widely depending on their culture and location. Get to know your team members individually.

The more you know about your individual team members, the better you will be able to meet their needs and effectively manage them as a whole. Ask for feedback from both local managers and employees from all countries involved in the business process (not just those in your own office). Don't speak for everyone without checking with them first!