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How to achieve multicultural collaboration in a team

Companies are often globally networked and work together internationally. Thanks to working from home, which has been a trend since the pandemic, employees can work together from very different locations.

Multicultural teams are therefore not uncommon. Multicultural collaboration is a promising potential. Amanda Augustine, career expert at Lebenslaufapp, gives helpful tips on how to work successfully in a multicultural team.

Tip 1: Put common goals first

Regardless of whether the team is multicultural or not, this tip helps to build cultural bridges and create a basis, because by focusing on a common goal, the team is welded together through clear team coordination and possible differences become secondary, as the core goal is in the foreground and everyone can contribute their individual expertise to achieve the goal.

Tip 2: Avoid cultural faux pas

Inform yourself and take an interest in other cultures and their customs. You never stop learning and brushing up on cultural or linguistic knowledge can be fun and, above all, signal interest and respect. It is also important to sensitise yourself to the issue of racism, as many employees are exposed to it.

"Knowing the customs of another country also shows that you care about the other person. If you are trying to reach a new customer base in that country, knowing the basic social norms will also improve your services or products and impress your business partners," says the career expert.

Tip 3: Don't underestimate language barriers

Despite Google Translate and ChatGPT, language barriers are unfortunately not a thing of the past and can still lead to misunderstandings. Moreover, they do not filter out the subtle linguistic differences and do not translate the soft skills in communication. It is important to communicate clearly, concretely and, of course, politely. Jargon, colloquial expressions or idioms are out of place as they can be lost in translation or misinterpreted. In addition, it is always better to be on the safe side and, if possible, ask someone who speaks the target language well to take a look at the written formulations. It is also helpful to find out about the correct form of address, greeting and signature.

Tip 4: Don't be afraid to ask questions

It is helpful to find out in advance about the cultures with which the employees identify, but of course you can't know everything. You should therefore ask employees from the different cultures if something is unclear. Interest in each other is fertile ground for collegial cooperation and possible misunderstandings are avoided through clear communication, which also includes asking questions. Employees feel that their cultural identity is respected if they are listened to.

"In fact, it's important to create a safe space for communication with your foreign partners or customers in advance so that everyone feels comfortable enough to ask questions without being judged or embarrassed," explains Amanda Augustine.

Tip 5: Celebrate differences and stay curious

Working together with other nationalities is often a real treasure trove. The many different perspectives on a goal and the different approaches to a problem have to be coordinated, but if this is achieved through clear and tactful communication, working in a multicultural team is very promising and also makes you curious about the world.

EXPATRIATES AdobeStock 629503968© Zaharia Levy, AdobeStock

This article is from the 1/2024 issue of the magazine "Life Abroad".

The magazine is published four times a year free of charge with many informative articles on foreign topics.

It is published by the BDAE, the expert for protection abroad.