Building Effective Cross-Cultural Teams

Tips for Building Successful Cross Cultural Teams

Increase awareness of the challenges faced by team members from other cultures                                                                 

Individuals working as part of a multicultural team need to become aware, and understand the challenges which are often faced by team members from the non-dominant culture. This ranges from – appreciating the psychological challenges people can face to learning to interpret behavior from outside ones own cultural perspective.

Make explicit team norms                                                                                                                                                            

It is important for multicultural teams to explicitly discuss standards and expectations for effective communication within the team. Team members need to recognize that other  individuals on the team might be at risk for challenges in meeting these standards, based on their cultural upbringing, professional experience, and personality.

Work hard to create a psychologically safe and inclusive team environment                                                                                         

It is important to create anatmosphere within the team that is “psychologically safe.” Individuals who are from the non-dominant culture can feel intense pressure and scrutiny in multicultural team settings. It is critical that all individuals work hard to create an inclusive and supportive atmosphere for all team members of the team. Without such an atmosphere, teams can lose members who may have a great deal to add, but who struggle with the language and cultural norms.

Dedicate time and resources to skill building                                                                                                                                                            

Many multinational teams in today’s business environment have a culture that is essentially Western, and a language that is English. This creates problems for individuals who may lack the skills to be fully-participative members. Find a way to build and enhance your team members’ language and cultural skills.

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