Culture insight: inclusion and community on diverse and dispersed teams

Berlitz -

Today’s team leaders are increasingly managing more diverse groups of people and people who interact increasingly virtually. One special challenge for modern team leaders is building a sense of community and inclusion among team members. Ensuring that all members feel a sense of community and trust in each other, as well as in their team leader, requires frequent attention and outreach.

One way to ensure a positive team experience is to hold a facilitated discussion of each member’s Cultural Orientation Indicator (COI) assessment, in which team members explore their cultural preferences using the Cultural Orientations Approach’s neutral, non-judgmental vocabulary. By comparing COIs, the team members can spot cultural gaps and create strategies to leverage these differences for the project’s success.

It is also critical to be sensitive to any action or behavior that can be perceived as biased or culturally insensitive. If some team members perceive unbalanced treatment, they could react negatively or become disengaged.

It is difficult to lead a team, much less one in which members are diverse or dispersed. But when team leaders make a concerted effort to create a sense of community among the team’s members, productivity and efficiency go up, to everyone’s benefit.