Part 2: Second step in building virtual global teams

Now that the understanding of virtual global teams has been created, we’ll look at how to build them.

First of all, it is important to know that the challenge of a virtual global team is not only the geographical distribution of the team, but also time zone differences and cultural differences. For example, while the team in Germany starts work in the morning, the team in India has already taken a break for lunch. Since all meetings and discussions are usually planned on the basis of the availability, flexibility and location of the client of the German colleagues, the external team members often have no co-determination. A balanced relationship should always be maintained here.

Although it is clear that there are many positive aspects to the constellation of a global virtual team, e.g. sales increase, cost reduction, productivity increase and more flexible working hours, there is also the other side of the coin with many challenges.

Dealing with cultural differences between team members and locations is a factor that needs to be considered. These differences can affect the functioning of the team and its output. For example, if your team consists of three Germans and three Indians, i.e. have different cultural backgrounds, it can be assumed that there aredifferences in feedback and communication. In order to make this more pleasant, it should be determined beforehand how positive and above all negative feedback should be given.

One way of meeting this challenge starts with the recruitment of the right team members, who above all have to have an eye for the international orientation. This makes it easier to work in a uniform style and the model with the “extended arm” bears fruit. It is also very helpful to create personal connections between the team members. Thus the respective team morale is also lived as a unity, i.e. by all together.

In case that things don’t go so smoothly and the spiral of conflict intensifies, it is the role of a moderator (coordinator) to address these conflicts and to resolve them together with the team. Effective conflict management is unavoidable here and ensures that the interpersonal aspects of the team are not weakened. Whether group discussions or confidential conversations, proactive communication can reduce conflicts.

Finally, on “How do I build virtual global teams”, it is important to communicate with each other right from the start and that all team members involved carefully manage and coordinate their key roles.

Once the “how” has been defined, the next step is to focus even more on the people in a virtual global team. (Part 3 will follow shortly)

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