10 Tips for Managers to effectively manage global team members

Srihari Udugani
The New Manager
Published in
5 min readMay 8, 2024

--

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Managers cannot escape managing global teams as organizations are becoming more and more diverse in hiring.

In current times, effective management of global team is an important skill to acquire.

Many managers prefer local team members to feel comfortable communicating with them and to avoid working long hours.

The Differences

Managers hesitate to manage global teams due to the following differences.

➡ Culture
Understanding foreign cultures is not easy.
Sometimes cultural differences create uneasiness between the manager and the team members.

➡ Festivals
Global teams will have different festivals.
This makes planning hard as balancing the workload will become difficult during certain times of the year.

➡ Interests
Different countries, different interests.
Sometimes there will be no common ground for managers and team members to converge.

➡ HR Policies
Different countries will have different policies.
If a manager must understand many such policies, it will add overheads and chances of non-compliance.

➡ Holiday Calendar
Different countries will have different holiday calendars.
This makes planning hard as balancing the workload during certain times in the year.

The Challenges

Due to the above differences, managers face the following challenges while managing a global team.

➜ Connection
Establishing a connection with team members from different countries will become tough as there is no common ground due to differences in interests and culture.

➜ Setting up team meetings
Due to timezone differences or working culture, setting up meetings becomes difficult, without a few team members extending their work time.

➜ Working round the clock
A manager has to work in different time zones, which makes the manager extend beyond a certain time frame and end up working long hours.

➜ Trust between team members
There are always trust problems due to remote teams.
Due to cultural and language differences, two members from different parts of the world take time to build trust.

The 10 Tips

❶ Connect Meetings
If the time zone difference is large then create alternating-time connect meetings.

In other words, one in your evening and one in the morning. In this way, the manager and team members will extend working hours alternatively.

If there is sufficient overlap in time zones, then scheduling connect meetings at the time that are balanced for both, will help.

❷ Bring Transparency
Like local teams, try to bring as much transparency as possible.

The transparency could be related to providing feedback, informing about upcoming work, inviting members to relevant meetings, and any other topics that help.

❸ Build Trust
Like local teams, building trust with a global team is also important.

The approaches to building trust remain the same but with slight adjustments that would be needed depending on the working style and culture.

At the current time, collaboration tools will also help you to build trust.

❹ Educate on Adaptability
Even though it is obvious that in a global team, everyone should be flexible and adaptive to each other, as a Manager it is equally important to make team members aware of it.

Constantly remind the team members to be flexible and adaptive to each other.

And most importantly thank them and appreciate them for being adaptive.

❺ Be an active listener
Don’t treat a global team as different compared to a local team.

A team is a combination of team members. And the members could be from anywhere in the world.

So as a Manager make sure to be an active listener about the issues, concerns, overall culture of the team, and working relationships; so that you can take timely corrective actions.

❻ Arrange Travel
If your business unit or department has budgeted travel expenses, plan for global team members to travel to a location where they can all meet face-to-face.

A global team is no different from managing a local remote team. Face-to-face interaction and working together will help in many ways.

During critical paths of the project, it is recommended to make sure the key team members are co-located to ensure no issues occur during execution.

❼ Process adjustments
A global team requires a slightly adjusted process.

So keeping a keen eye on the process and the bottlenecks getting created should be dealt with as early as possible.

This will ensure the smooth operation of the team and the timely completion of projects.

❽ Clarity about roles and responsibilities
As a manager, clarifying each member's roles and responsibilities will be most important.

If there are confusions and overlaps related to roles and responsibilities, there will be a lot of collaboration and communication issues among team members.

To avoid issues, constantly review the roles and responsibilities of each team member.

❾ Clarity on ownership
As a manager, ensuring team members are aware of their accountabilities will help ensure they are focused and take ownership of the work assigned.

Since the skills could be scattered between regions, it is important to make team members aware of the accountabilities irrespective of the location.

When there is awareness about accountability within a global team is clear, it creates better quality outcomes.

❿ Tooling
As a manager, make sure a common tool is used across all the team members in the global team.

If the tools are different then defining a common process won’t be easy and will result in overheads and confusion.

With common tools, the quality of the outcomes will be better, due to lesser communication gaps.

By adopting, the above 10 tips, the pressure of managing a global team reduces over time for Managers.

This will also help Managers to align the team better.

The more the team becomes self-sufficient, the more follow-up meetings will be reduced. In this way, you can focus on larger strategies.

Happy management!

If you learned something from this blog, consider leaving a small tip.

For more such blogs, follow The New Manager publication.

--

--

Srihari Udugani
The New Manager

Knowledge Made Simple and Structured, Decisions Made Clear. Happy success!