Monday, 15 october 2018 | Redacción CEU
The business world is currently marked by three clear trends: digitization, innovation and globalization. Therefore, change as a constant is the hallmark of the modern business management. The leaders are forced to fight against the uncertainty generated by a scenario which is in full transformation. One of the most notable changes that in recent years the business environment has been experiencing is the shaping of new teamworks. The managers have to lead teams that are increasingly heterogeneous and which can be integrated by several professionals who are located in different parts of the world. If it is already difficult to guide a conventional team, it is even more difficult to manage a global team. How can leaders manage staff whose members are separated by one or several borders?
Whether they are designed for a strategic partnership, as part of a one-time project or to integrate an ambitious plan, working groups tend to be increasingly global. The technological development has enabled the convenient digital space to favor and promote the virtualization of labor relations. Nowadays, millions of professionals work together in a direct way and with a daily contact, although they are colleagues who are located in different regions or countries. International calls, videoconferences or instant messaging apps have replaced handshakes, face-to-face meetings and conversations in the office corridors. On the other hand, the goals are increasingly demanding and the formulas to achieve them more complex. How to exert an effective leadership in this difficult context?
Main characteristics of global teams
Before addressing the different guidelines that a leader can follow to perform the good management of a global team, it is necessary to reflect on what are the advantages and disadvantages which are associated to these heterogeneous and multicultural groups. In this way, those who are responsible for guiding the work of these teams will be fully aware of what types of risks they face and what the reward they can get if they do a good job is.
Managing a diverse team which is geographically divided is a complex challenge. There are many obstacles that slow leaders' work down: the problems which are derived from the lack of understanding (delays in deadlines, misunderstandings, poor results...), the notable differences between the team members, the greater visibility of errors, the less capacity to create a framework of trust, the prejudices and resistance when collaborating, etc.
However, the efficient management of these work groups can be very profitable and positive. Thanks to the joint work of global teams, companies can be enriched by different points of view of their members and take advantage of local knowledge. When these teams work well together, they are very productive, inspire the conception of new ideas and contribute to replicate the good practices, promote the recruitment of talent (regardless of where they come from), favor the coming together between the parent company and the subsidiaries and make possible to cover a wider working day.