Global teams bring together multiple sets of skills and diverse working methods. Strong and effective leadership is required for such teams to work well. Be ready to adopt different leadership styles for the various phases of team development.
Communicating with Your Team
In the team-forming stage, there will be a lot of uncertainty among team members, who may ask lots of questions. Why has the team been formed? Why am I here? What are the expected results, and when must they be achieved? You might not have all the answers, but communicate what you know honestly and directly.
Also, encourage team members to find their own answers, otherwise they may become passive. For example, if someone asks why they are on the team, ask them to say why they think they have been chosen.
Acting as a Facilitator
In the developing phase, help facilitate differences within the team. Rather than demand compliance, help bring differences in perception and style to the surface, where they can be understood better and managed more effectively.
Promote better team interaction through open-ended questioning and help members see shared interests and perspectives. Be prepared to offer guidance for finding a joint way forward.
Points to Remember
- The key challenge for the leader is to emphasize the value that differences bring to the team.
- Help new team members by sharing all the information that they need to succeed.
- Ask for ideas from the team before expressing your own, so that you achieve more input.
Integrating a Team
As the team begins to work together, you, as the leader and integrator, must help it to balance diversity with cohesion. Help the team develop common working ground (shared values and norms) and begin to act as a role model. Be a willing learner, thoughtful listener, and energetic collaborator. As an integrator, try to improvise with new approaches that make the most of cultural differences.
For example, you might begin a meeting with American-style brainstorming, and then end the meeting by defining the course of action each person has agreed to – this more systematic approach is favoured by Germans.
Challenging the Team
When the team has achieved a level of self-management, you must still ensure that it is kept focused. Help it to respond and adapt to changes in the business environment. Manage unsettling internal alterations, such as members leaving or joining. While solidifying the team’s performance, challenge members to reach higher levels of achievement. Consider yourself to be the agent of change, demonstrate pride in your team, and show an eagerness and enthusiasm for breakthroughs and continuous improvements.