The Elements of Multicultural Team Success

Due to the globalization of the workforce today, you’ll find that many multinational organizations have teams working from different time zones, countries, and even continents. As well as many entrepreneurs and startups that utilize outsourcing as a way to grow so they can continue to focus on the core business processes. Thus, now days running a team become a different endeavor than it was some years back.


Let’s evaluate why the fundamentals of the team are critical and how we can improve them to have a safe environment, and improve the team’s collaboration, performance, and effectiveness in a globalized world.

It can be challenging when leading multicultural teams. As in every team, a lack of a clear understanding of common goals and strategies can equally affect the team’s overall performance. But even more so on teams that are geographically distant can be harmful. As well as the development of a team culture based on the organization’s vision can greatly influence effectiveness as well as the performance of the team.

How can you leverage the team’s foundations to foster successful teamwork?

Through inclusion and diversity, as well as encouraging active participation among members, you can help foster high levels of trust in your team. In turn, members will work towards supporting their team leader and their vision.

Therefore, it is vital to improving the fundamentals of the team and in this process, it is important to recognize that:

  1. Team members need to understand their set goals and have a clear vision.
  2. It is crucial for a team to create a strategy and plan that reflects its purpose, vision, and mission.
  3. Having a well-defined leadership role can help establish a structure for each team member. Team leaders and managers should establish common goals for their teams and clarify roles and responsibilities expected from each team member.
  4. Based on its structure as well as other factors affecting collaboration, each team will need its governing set of rules and standards.
  5. Team members need to develop their Cultural Awareness to understand their own culture, the culture of their colleagues, and the team and organization culture as well to foster cultural success.

As a team works towards common project goals and objectives, they will perform different tasks as part of the planned action processes. Thus, when it comes to supporting team members to be successful, there are never too many details. Clarity of roles can help address the performance of the whole team. It defines the expectations of each task and for each member. This will also serve to let everyone know their contributions to the whole matter.

To improve the fundamentals of your team, consider having standard operating procedures for:

  • Email replies,
  • The frequency of team meetings and agendas,
  • Frequent document and email that promotes clear communication,
  • Coordinating the flow of different member activities and team reporting structure,
  • Breaking down your shared goals into smaller actionable steps,
  • Measuring progress towards a goal supported by graphics and flowcharts,
  • Tracking available resources at the work environment to guarantee that what is needed is available,
  • Create an atmosphere of camaraderie among team members to support others to perform their tasks,
  • Outline each member’s function and responsibilities to help reduce the chance of misunderstandings.

Furthermore, the development of a team identity finding commonalities between the group members will encourage your team to bond in a social context. It’s possible that there are teammates with the same taste in music, movies, or TV shows. Others might bond over hobbies or through sharing information about their children and families. One thing is for sure, personal connections in a multicultural team make it easier for members to work together.

Leveraging on cultural diversity rather than navigating through it in the workplace is valuable to any organization. Thus, we can see multicultural teams as an asset, rather than a liability.

Having a safe environment, easy to understand and interact, have many benefits. Team members will learn to respect their differences, collaborate better with each other, stick to group norms, and share a common goal, which will finally lead them to promote unity in a team.

Team foundations are one of the 7 elements that have proven to be a key factor when working with multicultural teams. Find more about the Global Team Effectiveness Model ®. If you and your team are ready to improve their performance and effectiveness we can help you!

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