Managing a Cross-Cultural Team Requires Setting Clear Norms
Managing a multicultural team can be tough. Communication styles vary, and there may be differences in conventions around time, giving feedback, and disagreeing publicly. To overcome these differences, set clear norms and stick to them. Start by taking into account what will work best for your team as a whole. Be aware that there may be team members who find it harder to meet certain expectations because of their cultural backgrounds. For example, if you have established that team members must arrive at meetings exactly on time (Western-style punctuality), you’ll need to reinforce that norm consistently across the group and remind non-Westerners why being on time matters. Of course, sometimes things change and adjustment is required, but keeping a consistent, clear structure for work styles and expectations is a critical way to create a common-ground team culture.