In times of globalization and the European single market intercultural teams are more and more common. Our societies are becoming more colorful and so are the workforces in the companies. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, experts from abroad are recruited. This is particularly impressive at the moment in the German IT industry.
The common working language English then seems just as obvious as openness and tolerance towards the new colleagues. Intercultural competence, however, goes far beyond that. Integrating different cultures in a team has an impact on the team culture. It has to be fostered and developed – this requires hard work. It definitely pays off. If teams invest in their culture early on , they can concentrate more on the result later.
intercultural & virtual
When teams work across different locations it gets even more interesting. Then intercultural teams are also virtual teams. I often experience that people joke about the colleagues at the other locations. „Americans just have a lax way of working“. „The Spaniards are not working very hard“. „The English do not give us the information we need“. „The Chinese do not understand our processes“. That’s dangerous – because that’s how cultural prejudices are created – and they often have nothing to do with culture.
Most of the displeasure is generated by the fact that the multi-site team was not developed holistically and thus there are regional subcultures competing with each other. This is energy-consuming and usually has a very negative effect on the work result.
In a tailor-made team development, your employees learn to recognize and value each other’s diversity, values, experiences and strengths. The result is a common (supraregional) intercultural team spirit with clear roles, tasks and processes, with understanding for each other and appreciation for differences. This is how an intercultural team becomes a top team.