Being a team lead is the task for experienced people who are not afraid of everyday challenges. The pandemic and the lockdown of COVID-19 brought more difficulties into the lives of the team managers.
These tasks, including communicating with team and supervisors, task management, KPI establishments, and many more jobs became more difficult to perform with the lockdown and remote work. Managing multilingual remote teams now is the mission of seasoned professionals. It is hard to possess each skill for the excellent performance of the mentioned task. That is why in the article, we are going to discuss with you what multilingual teams are, what you have to know about them to manage them successfully, and how to create one. Let’s go!
Table of Contents
Table of Contents: Creating and Managing Multilingual Remote Teams
- Types of Remote Teams
- Monolingual Remote Team
- Multilingual Remote Team
- How to Create Multilingual Remote Team
- Time Trackers
- Task Managers
- Learn Foreign Languages
- Learn Communication Skills
- Learn Cultures
- How to Manage Multilingual Remote Teams
- Create a System
- Use Framework
- Debug the Processes
- Find the Proper Style of Communication
Types of Remote Teams
COVID-19 split the world of teams into different poles: the groups which work remotely and those who vaccinated and stayed in the office. This split is not the only one: the more we work remotely, the more often we work or manage multilingual teams.
There are many differences in the managing style of a monolingual and multilingual group of people. We will look through two types of teams and share some ideas on creating and managing the most widespread, multilingual remote team.
Monolingual Remote Team
Leading a monolingual remote team is much easier than managing a group of people who speak several languages. The team that communicates in one language and shares one culture or similar cultural concepts is always more compliant. Team leaders have to know less to manage this kind of team.
Multilingual Remote Team
This type of remote team is something that some managers can struggle with. There are people in multilingual teams who don’t speak the language the others do. It can be challenging for both team members and managers to catch the idea of the speaker. It happens not because of the language barrier only – there are cultural differences that some people can’t overcome easily.
How to Create Multilingual Remote Team
Creating a multilingual remote team is the reality we live in. Attracting small offshore groups of collaborators is the trend of this year. Your boss can ask you to create one, and you have to be prepared for that.
There are digital tools on the market that can help you create a perfect remote team with people from all over the world.
Managing people means keeping control of their time and activities. Using time tracking apps on remote teams is essential for this team’s productiveness. Time trackers help team members keep track of time and manage their tasks effectively. Team leaders who know what their teams do can calculate time and create a precise roadmap. That is very important when leading a project.
Task managers are the top instruments to help a team lead to organize the team and oneself. It is also helpful for setting deadlines, and completing tasks, tracking working time, and tracking the entire progress of the job. Trello is a free task manager that people use worldwide to communicate and work together.
Messengers are the applications where remote teams can communicate easily. It is fantastic when a messenger has an in-built translator. WeChat is one of them. There you can create a room and discuss operational issues. The most significant is that the messenger can translate messages online. It is useful when you have a multilingual team.
Tools are not everything you need to manage multilingual remote teams successfully. The skills of the lead are the thing that influences the workflow a lot.
Learn Foreign Languages
Why do we learn foreign languages? Knowing several languages helps us understand how you think about people’s culture. That is why it is crucial to master your business English skills and work on pronunciation. Speaking English and other foreign languages while managing a team will ease work and build trust between you and your team members.
Learn Communication Skills
Communication, at first sight, seems to be the most accessible skill to achieve, but in reality, it is not true. It is the most complex skill because you can’t learn how to communicate effectively without years or even decades of practice.
Improving communication skills can make you struggle as well. You can attend some classes on rhetoric or business management to understand better how to express yourself effectively. Try practicing at home with the people you care about, and you can start noticing the first results. Make an effort!
Traveling and speaking foreign languages help a lot in learning cultures. There are also ways to learn about the people you work with. Read some books and guides on how to communicate effectively with people of particular nationalities.
You have to understand that when you know the culture of the people you work with, you know how they think. There is a difference between the Indian perception of the time frame and the German perception of the time frame. Consider that before your work with multilingual remote team members.
When you learn how to create a remote team of people who speak several languages, you must know how to manage it. We will guide you through this process.
How to Manage Multilingual Remote Teams
Create a System
Before hiring team managers, every seasoned team lead has to create a system of work or flow. The system can look like a chart or a mind map. The manager needs to know the hierarchy, communication flow, and other small details of the working process.
Use some tools like Miro to create a perfect system of the workflow. You also can use other instruments with whiteboards or wiki websites to make your scheme. One more thing – use some references before doing it.
The framework of working with a multilingual remote team is the set of rules that help you and other team members cooperate effectively. It’s perfectly normal when things start going wrong – rethink your workflows, adjust the tools or business strategy you use.
Track employee satisfaction metrics. The team lead needs to know how each of its members feels. The general mood in the team is what creating this team. Healthy team relationships have a direct impact on the development of the project you are accomplishing.
Progress in the development of a project is often associated with the environment in the team. The general well-being of each team member depends on this environment. Avoid overworking employees, avoid stressful situations, listen to employees’ opinions, and look for a compromise in resolving controversial issues.
Debug the Processes
Debugging the processes is another step of effective team management. There are some common issues that team leaders face when managing remote multilingual teams.
It is critically important to monitor the remote team and model the transparency and openness of relationships in the group. Lack of communication is another excellent issue of all the teams: improve relationships among the members. Sometimes remote employees feel lonely and isolated from the group, so informal communication is also essential.
Lack of experience. Any project needs proper management, especially when it comes to remote work. Managers need to understand their team members, motivate them, track progress, and solve problems. It is the process of making your cooperation better and more productive.
Find the Proper Style of Communication
Managing people is primarily about communication and its improvement. Finding a proper tone of voice in the interaction with your team is crucial for its effectiveness. How to do that? There is one sole thing in the world that anyone can’t buy – experience. You have to try harder – start with your relatives and friends. Ask them what type of talking they prefer: friendly, formal, or informal.
It is more challenging when you manage a multilingual team, and your knowledge of a foreign language won’t let you express yourself correctly. That is why learning a foreign language harder and practicing communication skills!
There is no natural bottom line when speaking of the creation and managing of remote teams. The topics on remote work and management are endless, but you will eventually come to multicultural and interpersonal communication topics if you start to learn.
Thankfully, you can use our guide to navigate the process of easy creation and effective management of a multilingual remote team. Frequently asked questions are waiting for you!
How to Connect With a Team If You Live in Different Countries?
Use a general table for monitoring and communication to see the employees’ workload for the following months. Plan on the workload and the time of this load for each team member. It will help you understand if the team members have the resources to take on new projects.
What Soft Skills Does a Team Lead Need?
- Interpersonal communication is the ability to listen, ask questions, argue their point of view.
- Intercultural communication is crucial in the case of managing a multilingual team. Understanding others is very important because everyone knows that referring incorrectly to someone who speaks a foreign language can be damaging for the whole communication and the project in general. We came here again to learning foreign language skills.
- Troubleshooting. Leaders need to make it clear to a person who is freaking out and not controlling themselves. Troubleshooting is necessary for the team members to feel safe and protected.
- Informal leadership. The team leader, who is also an informal leader, will perform better the duties of the team lead.
How Can a Team Leader Overcome a Communication Barrier?
Communication barriers are the obstacles in the work or remote teams. Some steps will help you with the issue.
- Active listening is when a person speaks two times less than listens. Reduce phrases and give the interlocutor more opportunities for clarification for overcoming the barrier.
- Non-verbal communication barrier. Sometimes people anticipate each other, and they don’t know why. Try to harmonize the movements of your arms, legs, your position in the conversation. Third-party shooting can help as well. You can ask a friend to talk to you about the topic you choose and ask to film that. Then analyze and work on gestures that speak of your closeness, unwillingness to communicate, or lack of self-confidence.
- Context is another issue that team leaders have to overcome. Learn how to analyze the proposed information. Do you understand everything about it? Is there a need to clarify how, why, where?
- Use clarifications. Ask and explain if you don’t understand the problem correctly. It allows you to understand the goals and motives of the other person fully and shows that you are listening to them.
- Be more aware of everything you speak and do. Perceive the information, not the speaker, observe yourself, adjust your questions and speech in the direction of simplification and rationalization. Don’t be afraid to pause between the other person’s question and your answer.
What Should a Manager Know to Be a Better Leader When Managing a Multilingual Team?
Building a quality team and inspiring it is crucial for achieving success. Sometimes leaders surround themselves with the less gifted team managers so that their star shines brighter. Leadership priorities begin with building a talented, skilled, and creative team that supports the organization’s vision.
Delegation of authority is also a crucial tool in teaching individuals to grow in their leadership and other talents. The leader of a multilingual remote team must learn to cope with failures, and when a leader can do that, the whole team will be able to overcome every obstacle.
About the Author
Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a digital marketing specialist; you can check here. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.