The Elements of Multicultural Team Success

People from different cultures might react in diverse ways to conflict when it occurs within a team. Some team members will reduce their reactions to the use of silent treatment, yet others might choose to fight back. Such reactions to some extent will depend on an individual’s personality but also are conditioned by their cultural spectrum and backgrounds.

team members facing conflict

Let’s observe why conflict isn’t always a bad thing, the key abilities need it to manage conflict and the elements that can help lessen conflicts within a multicultural team.

Effective conflict resolution between coworkers requires an understanding of how each member perceives what caused the conflict. Moreover, when dealing with different cultures, national traditions, personalities, cultural awareness, and others, it is more challenging to maintain smooth relations among team members.

Teams are formed for various reasons, terms, and goals. Regardless of their purpose and continuance, most teams will experience an evolutionary process which begins from their creation and culminates in the attainment of shared goals. During each formation step, conflicts will normally arise, and this isn’t always a bad thing.

In a multicultural team, diversity brings about a special level of conflict and complexity for team members. Do you have an effective way of dealing with conflict among your team members?

Some of the key abilities that a team needs to implement and utilized to manage conflict include:

  • Sharing mutual interest
  • Practicing Active Listening
  • Relationship building between members
  • Adopting a problem-Solving attitude
  • Conflict resolution strategies

When conflict is used effectively, it can help stimulate critical thinking among team members, which is a factor that increases productivity. It can help uncover potential objections, improve decision-making, and bring down tensions that usually bring low morale and discontent, which allows a team to be effective.

There is no doubt that diversity among team members can help improve the success level of a project, as well as productivity and effectiveness. But, it’s critical for all members to consider their varied resources and perspectives.

To make the process more manageable for those in leadership positions, there are several elements to understand and keep in mind when creating strategies that can help lessen conflicts within a multicultural team.

  • First, it is important that you have effective communication strategies. Group members should learn to recognize the differences in how each member interacts. And they should refrain from judging each other’s competence on the basis of language skills.
  • Team members should be allowed to express disagreements in a constructive manner. Likewise, organizations should have a clearly understood path of escalation for those issues that members aren’t able to resolve on their own.
  • Multicultural teams tend to have contrasting ways of doing their work. For instance, some cultures like a slow-paced style which focuses on mutual agreement between team members, and there are those cultures that are more focused on quick and efficient problem-solving style.
  • Systems, procedures, and clear standards of what the members are to achieve helps them realize the correct approach expected of them. Bring members of a team to the same page to help them minimize conflict.
  • Team members may not have the same level of leadership. Thus, when disagreements occur, intervening in all of them could lead to over-dependence on the company’s leadership, which reduces growth opportunities at different levels of the organization.
It is important to realize that the development process of team norms doesn’t occur in a vacuum, but rather it is integrated into the organization’s mission and vision statement.

Having a safe environment, easy to understand and interact, have many benefits, especially in conflict resolution. 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.

Conflict resolution is 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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