Navigating Cultural Differences to Promote Team Spirit: 7 Strategies That Work

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Navigating Cultural Differences to Promote Team Spirit: 7 Strategies That Work

Go Team Go! Team spirit is important in schools, but it shouldn’t stop there. Team spirit also has a place in the workplace.  It fosters a sense of belonging, builds confidence, raises esteem and increases company morale.  Team spirit makes people feel like they belong and are a part of something bigger. It’s great to look at a completed project and say, “I was part of that.”

Strong teams create strong companies

Many businesses rely on teamwork to succeed but with an increasing number of companies doing business worldwide, workforces are becoming more diverse. In this new global environment, navigating cultural differences to promote team spirit can be daunting. But it is not impossible.

Get to know team member as individuals

Team leader’s need to get to know their team members. Not just as professionals but as individuals. When you get to know people as individuals, and you recognize their skills and talents, you learn that despite our cultural differences, in many ways we are all the same. We all have hopes, dreams, and ambitions. And you’ll also realize that skills, rather than culture and beliefs, are what’s important to a team. Getting to know team members, and learning about their culture builds team spirit by making employees feel valued and appreciated for who they are and what they bring to the team.

Create opportunities for team members to get to know each other

If employees don’t feel a natural bond with each other, management has to build that bond. There are many ways to foster relationships between team members. Everything from ‘water cooler’ talk to team building exercises and volunteer work can foster rapport within a team. Create opportunities for team members to learn about their coworkers’ cultures, perspectives and way of life, as this will help build a healthy work environment and encourage open-mindedness.

Don’t let company culture become a barrier to team spirit

Companies all have a culture and it is important. It enhances team spirit but it can also unintentionally lead to discrimination. Fortunately, you can build successful multicultural teams without undermining or compromising company culture. One way is to ensure that your company culture embraces diversity and establishes norms that include practices from all cultures on the team.

Retain a culturally diverse staff

If employees don’t feel understood and valued, they will look for work elsewhere and you will lose talented people. Especially if they feel that their culture is inhibiting their progress or ostracizing them from the team. The more diverse your staff, and the more you recognize their diversity as an asset, the easier it will be to build a multicultural team with innovative ideas and strong team spirit.

Work towards a common goal

Your team needs to know that they are working towards a common goal. If they are no longer focused exclusively on their own success, but working for the good of the team, they will find it easier to see beyond their cultural differences.

Keep open communication

Miscommunication is a huge barrier to cross-cultural team spirit. A great way to counteract miscommunication is by using technology and implementing employee self-service software. The software can manage several aspects of the team, including schedules and deadlines, and help prevent misunderstandings between team members.

Deal with conflict immediately

Regardless of the cultural make-up of a team, conflict is inevitable. But it can be magnified in multicultural teams. When conflict arises, make sure to address it immediately. This helps ensure that small issues don’t spiral out of control. A good team leader needs to understand cultural perspectives and use them to minimize conflict.

Building a multicultural team isn’t easy. People don’t appreciate cultural differences and see them as stumbling blocks rather than strengths. With businesses becoming more global, multicultural teams are becoming commonplace and the key to global success and sustainability is embracing diversity.


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