August 27, 2019
Grow your Intercultural Team into a high-performing One
Motivation is high and the team is eager to go. But good intentions, enthusiasm, and a carefully designed strategy too often fall short when the intercultural dynamics are complex.
Many of us have experienced intercultural teams struggling to function as a cohesive unit. For a culturally diverse group of people to reach their potential as a team, they must develop a broad understanding of culture and have a plan for dealing with difficulties.
Communicating clear goals is essential for leaders. When teammates feel they have a purpose, they feel valued and appreciated, and motivated to invest time and energy. But on an intercultural team, clear goals by themselves may not be enough to keep people working together in the face of competing cultural preferences and worldviews.
It is normal for people from different backgrounds to feel uncertain when they begin working together. Knowledge and understanding are foundation to trust, so trust can only grow as our understanding of team members grows.
This can be hampered by colleagues who have limited self-awareness (and thus cannot help us get to know them) or who are unequipped to engage with different cultural and behavioral styles and cause friction.
Even with the best of intentions, teams missing a good understanding of culture can quickly find themselves in a state of cross-cultural miscommunication, friction, and sometimes all-out conflict. People misinterpret each other, and start to react out of fear and anger. Before long, people are tiptoeing around each other on eggshells. And unfortunately, a team member who does not feel safe is unable to fully commit to the team.
Are intercultural teams worth the effort? For almost 20 years, we have been answering that question with a resounding “Yes!”
“Intercultural teams have astounding potential, not only to match mono-cultural teams in any industry – but to outperform them.”
In our increasingly globalized world, many of us have no choice but to work with people whose cultures are deeply different from our own. Our passion is to help people experience what a great opportunity this gives.
Intercultural teams often feel maxed out already. How can we work to deepen our cultural IQ and strengthen cross-cultural relationships?
It starts with leaders: leaders of teams and organizations who take a clear-eyed look at the strengths and weaknesses of having a globally distributed workforce, and invest in growing their people in the intercultural dimension.
It spreads with team members who embrace intercultural learning and put their knowledge to work for the team.
Enlist the proven curriculum and experienced educators at KnowledgeWorkx. We provide practical training for intercultural teams with a suite of Inter-Cultural Intelligence tools – including The Three Colors of Worldview©, Listening Styles, and Perceptions & Patterns.
Check out more articles on our KnowledgeWorkx Resource page.
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