How to Lead a Successful Global Team

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companies can boost the effectiveness of

global teams by helping their team

leaders to understand the concept of

cultural relativity to give an example I

worked with a team that was made up with

French and British people and when I

asked the British what's it like to work

with the French they complained they're

always late they're really disorganized

they're always a chaotic a little bit

later a group from India joined the same

team and the Indians complain that the

French were overly structured they were

in adaptable they were so focused on the

punctuality that it left them inflexible

when you're leading a global team you

have to understand all of these complex

perceptions that may be impacting the

team's effectiveness so that you can

manage it when companies are building

global teams they need to prepare those

team members to understand how their own

cultural biases are impacting the team

interaction I worked with a global team

a while ago where I had all of these

Americans and a couple of Malaysians on

the team and the Americans were doing

all of the talking and the Malaysians

never spoke up when I spoke with the

Americans they said well you know these

Malaysians they are shy and they have

nothing to contribute and then when I

spoke to the Malaysians they said you

know it's so difficult to be a part of

this team because the Americans are

constantly interrupting each other and

there's never a space for us to get our

voice in edgewise so this is something

that is deeply cultural when should we

speak and when should we be quiet and if

the team understands this simple

difference they can reorganize the way

the meetings are led so that they all

have an opportunity to speak up if

you're looking for a candidate to move

to another country don't judge them

solely on experience instead try asking

them a question like what was it that

they learned about the last culture that

they were living in if they tell you

something like oh well you know in that

culture they're always late and they're

really inefficient and they're very

hierarchical that's a sign they're

probably not ready for another

expatriation but if they tell you

something like well you know when I


moved to that country I found it

frustrating that they were always

deferring to my opinions but after a

while I came to see the beauty in that

type of system and that it was so much

more efficient than what I was used to

at home if you have someone who can give

you that kind of answer you know they're

ready to move to another country one of

the biggest mistakes that companies make

is not preparing their leaders to lead

effectively in this very complex

multicultural world I worked with a

Dutch brewing company who purchased a

large operations in Mexico Oh in the

Netherlands one of the most egalitarian

societies in the world people are very

well they see the boss as being one of

equals a facilitator among the team and

in Mexico people are taught from a young

age to defer more to Authority to show

more respect to that authority figure

now I we had these Mexicans who are

managing Dutch people and they said you

know managing Dutch people is absolutely

incredible because they do not care at

all that I'm the boss I go into these

meetings I have my strategy I'm trying

to roll out my plan but they're

contradicting me they're challenging me

they're taking my ideas in other

directions sometimes I just want to get

down on my knees and say no please don't

forget that I'm the boss so this was

really complicated in today's global

economy it's not enough to know how to

lead the Mexican way or the Dutch way

our leaders need to be flexible enough

to adapt their style to motivate whoever

they're leading in no matter which

cultural context that might be