Leading A Multinational Workforce

By Marcela De Vivo

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Leading any sort of team in a workplace environment can be challenging and demanding.

When you’re leading a team of multinational workers from a variety of backgrounds, the challenges are often exacerbated.

Having a multinational team can be a real benefit to you as a boss. You may just find that your team is more productive when each member brings a unique outlook and skillset to the table.

However, it can take a little bit of work on your part to really bring out the best in your team, and help them to thrive in a new work environment.

Be a Boss, But Be Flexible

Being in charge of your team is an important part of being a leader, and having the ability to set goals and deadlines for your employees is very important. When you’re working with a multinational team, you’re going to need to remember to be flexible.

Having a multinational team means you’ll be working with people from all walks of life and religious backgrounds. That may mean that an employee will need a day off for a religious holiday that may not be on your calendar.

Making sure your team gets work done is your top priority as a team leader. But when you’re leading a multinational workforce, you need to make sure you can also include flexibility in the schedule.

Get to Know Your Employees

Getting to know your employees in a workplace environment is always a good idea.

You don’t need to know everything about the people you work with. But if they come from a background that is very different from your own, you should educate yourself so that you will be able to better understand them as a person and employee.

That way, you can also avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings and make the workplace more efficient. Don’t be afraid to speak directly to the employee.

If there’s some confusion, approaching employees with an interested, tolerant attitude will show that you value their set of values, ethics, and cultural differences, all of which will inspire understanding and confidence among your workers.

Also, whether they are skilled immigrants in the U.S. on a work visa or are applying for citizenship, you should be aware of their status and at least understand some of the issues that immigrants face so you can be prepared to support your employees.

Ask for Help

Most Western office workers aren’t afraid to chime in with a bit of advice about how to get a project or task done, even when they’re talking to their boss. In fact, thinking of unique ways to save time or money that the boss didn’t think of is an excellent way to earn respect or even get promoted in many office environments.

When you’re working with a multinational team, some of your employees may be a bit hesitant to offer up suggestions, even when they know of a way to get a job done faster, better, or for less money.

Sometimes it can be an issue because of a language barrier, while other times it might be because workplaces and bosses in some countries and areas would frown upon worker suggestions.

It’s important for you to ask for help from your team on a regular basis. Let the people you’re working with know that it’s okay to come to you.

Suggestions from your well-qualified staff can be a great asset, and they will help build confidence and promote teamwork. If you make employees that are hesitant to speak up, feeling like their opinions aren’t wanted, they may not speak up again when they have a really useful idea. Leading your team the right way will ensure success.

We live in an increasingly connected world, making global markets and a multinational workforce much more common for today’s businesses.

Having an open and informed understanding of all of your team members will help you become a more effective leader and ultimately make your team more efficient as well.

How Do You Lead a Multinational Workforce?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Marcela De Vivo
Marcela De Vivo
Marcela is a freelance writer and accomplished online marketing professional in L.A. While she mostly writes on health, marketing and technology, she has worked with law groups for immigration, as well as special needs advocacy.
  • David McCuistion says:

    I have worked in this kind of an environment, with people from different nationalities. It was a great experience.

    Everything in this article is spot-on. It is easy to build relationships with others if the leader takes a proactive approach with a learning nature in mind. People open up to sincere questioning, especially if it adds to the relationship and overall team environment.

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