In a globalized, interconnected and highly interdependent world, teams within companies are increasingly cosmopolitan and multicultural. This brings added value to the company and strengthens its international outreach, but it also raises a number of challenges, particularly in terms of management. So how can leaders manage multiculturalism?
A global context favoring multiculturalism
Many reasons stand behind the rise of multicultural teams such as international partnerships, relocations, mergers and acquisitions in addition to the need for highly qualified professionals. For historical and economic reasons, it is not uncommon to find teams made up of individuals from different backgrounds in French companies. Moreover, French companies operate all over the world. This strong international presence requires proven managerial qualities and skills to overcome any misunderstanding and concerns within the team.
Strength in difference and effectiveness in diversity
To successfully manage a multicultural team, the manager must display a wide range of skills and abilities including open-mindedness, tolerance, listening skills and empathy in order to be able to walk in his collaborators' shoes and fully understand their differences. Obviously, a multicultural manager must be fluent in the language in which he or she can communicate with all employees (usually English).
While being curious and eager to learn and discover new cultures, he/she will develop new working methods to maintain team cohesion and create an environment that promotes cooperation. The company will then be able to achieve its core values and to keep up with the evolution of society. This is particularly true for French companies that are setting up abroad. In the long run, each employee will feel valued and respected regardless of his or her cultural background, which will translate into better results for the company.
Using innovative methods
To improve group cohesion, strengthen team spirit and promote creativity and emotional and collective intelligence, managers who leads multicultural teams may choose innovative and fun methods such as the gamification of Team Building activities: escape games, talking in circles, blind drawing, three truths and a lie, team birthday lineup, etc.
The manager may also organize sporting activities for employees like trekking, running, soccer games, mini golf or bowling to create social ties between employees and handle potential conflicts in a proactive and subtle way. The main goal is to unite the team around the company's values and objectives.
Do you wish to become a multicultural manager and work in an international company? Find out more about the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at the American Business School of Paris. This program is available after High School or through a parallel admission program.