When you are building a foreign team, the members don't always speak the same language. But if you can manage it, a foreign language team brings specialized expertise and experience to a project. Set aside your concerns and understand that no matter where your foreign team members reside, you can still successfully manage them. Here are some basic tips and suggestions to help you manage foreign language teams.
Gather the best for the job, regardless of primary language. When you need to accomplish something, you often want to have the best and most-experienced members on your team. Ensure that this is your main objective when you build your foreign language team. Set all concerns about language aside and focus on gathering people who possess the skills you need to get the job done. Your project will see more success if you assign the most skilled people to the job, regardless of the languages they speak.
Be specific with expectations. Once you have created your foreign language team, you need to be specific about the project details and your expectations. Verbal and written communication is necessary to ensure that no parts of the project get overlooked. Take time to find translators, if necessary, so that all members of your foreign language team fully grasp the goals of the project. Visit your foreign language team members in their own countries to show respect and to ensure that they are on board with your expectations for the project. Setting a firm foundation of understanding across language barriers is vital for the success of the foreign language teams you manage.
Treat members respectfully. When working with a foreign language team, you will inevitably encounter different cultural traditions. You must respect the differences of your foreign language team members. Clothing, dietary restrictions and religious beliefs have no effect on the success of your project, so set any concerns about these aside. Respect the various ethnicities in your group. Likewise, respect the different ideas and solutions presented by your foreign language team members. You needed a team because you couldn't complete the project on your own. So be open and respectful of the various methods of attack throughout the duration of your project.
Encourage constant communication. Because language is your primary concern when managing a foreign language team, it's important that communication is ongoing. Not only is this important to gauge the progress of your project, but it's also important to ensure that all of the members of your foreign language team are on the right track. Be available to answer questions and have regular meetings and teleconferences. Stay in constant contact with each member of the team, making the effort to communicate often (even across language barriers). Your dedication to ensuring language differences will not hinder the outcome of a project will not go unnoticed.
Acknowledge hard work. At the completion of your project, show your appreciation for the efforts of your foreign language team members. Remember that they also struggled as part of the team that you managed, overcoming language barriers, distance, and so on. Be extremely grateful for the efforts of your foreign language team. Although monetary reimbursement is likely, also consider sending a small token of your appreciation to each member of the multicultural team you managed. It's just one more way to acknowledge the contributions made by foreign language teams.