Managing Your Multicultural Team - A CEO's Guide

Managing Your Multicultural Team – A CEO’s Guide

The world of work has come a long way. It has moved away from what many considered to be patriarchal and has transformed significantly to become more diversified and accommodating.  Against this background, a multicultural team can thrive and do well, whether they work together in person or remotely. The key to making multicultural teams become successful units has everything to do with diversity and accessibility.

In light of this, our Day BPO – Ceo’s Guide digs into what is required to manage a multicultural team effectively. Keep reading to find out more.


What is a Multicultural Team?

Multicultural means that there is more than one culture present within an environment. This means that a multicultural team is one that has people from diverse backgrounds. 

To be more specific, a multicultural team includes members from different countries, speak different languages, are of different ethnicities, have varying values, morals, and religious backgrounds, share different beliefs and possess different demeanors. This also means that multicultural teams are made up of people from different age groups, different genders, are of different races, varying educational backgrounds, and may also have other attributes such as disabilities of varying types.

In learning more about multicultural teams, you may also find that they go by other names, such as culturally diverse teams, Multinational teams, or Multiethnic teams, just to name a few.


What is Management?

Management has a lot to do with coordinating efforts among people and supervising how human and otherwise resources are allocated. 

The role of a manager is multifaceted. Not only do managers pay attention to what takes place on a systematic level within their organization, but they also pay attention to what goes on with all the members of their team. Therefore, they track processes and are also responsible for handling the emotions and well-being of those they are in charge of.

That said, there are a few things all managers should know when it comes to managing a multicultural team. We will share those tips in the next section.


6 Tips on Managing a Multicultural Team

Learn How to Handle Language and Cultural Barriers 

Language barriers and cultural barriers are probably the two biggest concerns that exist when it comes to managing a multicultural team. 

The language barrier that may exist among employees has to be solved by having everyone speak a common language, even if that language is secondary for some team members. This way, all team members can communicate with more ease. 

You can further break down this obstacle by encouraging everyone to become aware of key sentences and phrases in the language that all team members are comfortable with using. 

Regarding cultural barriers, encourage your team members to learn more about each other’s cultures. A great place to start is talking about food, customs, traditions, and holidays. 


Be Aware of, and Open to Various Communication Styles 

It’s important to always keep in mind that different cultures have different styles of communication. When it comes to communication style, we’re talking about things such as speaking patterns and non-verbal communication.

Non-verbal communication includes everything you do apart from speaking. Therefore gestures, facial expressions, and body language all fall under non-verbal communication.

Within different cultures, non-verbal signals have different meanings. That said, within some cultures, gestures and body language is used to communicate more than in other cultures. Within other cultures, they are more direct and use more verbal communication.

In all of this, being a manager of a multicultural team means familiarizing yourself with the various team members and sensitizing everyone to each other’s differences.


Be Considerate of the Different Time Zones that People Live in

By the title of this point, you can guess that this tip is specifically for managers of virtual teams. More and more teams are going entirely virtual, so being aware of everyone’s time zones is very important. 

It can get difficult to manage a virtual team, especially because of the different time zones that team members may fall into.  Being organized is going to become a crucial component of managing your virtual team in order to make things work smoothly. 

This means that all team members have to be considerate when sending messages, when to expect work, and when and how collaborations will work. 

Time management apps are a great tool to get everyone working together and track productivity regardless of everyone’s time zone.


Do Cross-Cultural Training

Cross-cultural training is an important part of any multicultural team, whether you operate in a face-to-face environment or virtually. The aim of this type of training is to improve workplace happiness among team members as well as to increase employee morale. 

Having everyone participate in cross-cultural training helps overcome any cultural differences that may exist within the workforce. Team members will get to know each other better and be able to educate themselves about the varying cultural beliefs around them. 


Do Not Stereotype

When it comes to working in a multicultural team, it is always important to be aware of the language you use at all times. Even though you are aware of the fact that a team member is part of a particular culture, it does not mean you should always lean on the logic of that fact when it comes to communicating or addressing them. 

Everyone, even though they are part of a particular culture or speak a particular language, is still an individual and should be treated that way.


Practice Empathy

Every great manager knows the importance of being empathetic. Taking time to chek in on team members and find out how they’re doing is important. It is a great way to build trust and promote mutual respect.

Empathy means that you’re able to understand your team members and share the feelings they may be having. It helps your relationship with your team members if you try to understand what they may be going through. 

Practicing empathy helps to support your team members so they can perform better, it can help them to overcome obstacles that may be hindering them from being their best selves and it also helps to resolve any conflicts in a more efficient and effective manner because there is a level of understanding that exists.


Final Thoughts on Multicultural Team Management

Managing a multicultural team requires a lot of work as well as a lot of awareness. Being aware of what it requires and working towards developing the skills needed is a great place to start. 

Day BPO is a multilingual business process outsourcing service that believes in the power of multicultural teams to get the job done. Our highly trained team of professionals is always ready to serve you in the areas of front-office and back-office services, including lead generation, customer support, tech support and so much more in every language. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to help us get started in getting back to the things that matter most to your business.