What Advice Can You Give for Managing An International Team Remotely?


    What Advice Can You Give for Managing An International Team Remotely?

    In the era of global connectivity, managing an international team remotely presents unique challenges. We've gathered six insights from CEOs, CTOs, and other top executives on how to lead dispersed teams effectively. From building an asynchronous communication culture to understanding and empowering team diversity, discover the essential strategies for remote leadership success.

    • Build Asynchronous Communication Culture
    • Create a Culture of Recognition
    • Embrace Asynchronous Idea Sharing
    • Leverage Cloud-Based Project Management
    • Prioritize Open Communication and Accountability
    • Understand and Empower Team Diversity

    Build Asynchronous Communication Culture

    Effective remote management of international teams lies in the ability to build an asynchronous communication culture and a culture of trust. First and foremost, take account of different time zones. Avoid synchronous communication, for instance, by using project management platforms or an internal wiki, which allows everyone to access information whenever needed and input at their own pace, so they will not be forced to attend some sort of meeting at 3 a.m. Then, build the trust. Have frequent one-on-ones via video, discussing each individual's goals, challenges, and well-being. Embrace open communication, requesting feedback from team members in all locations. If they feel trusted and psychologically safe, then your team will collaborate well despite physical distance.

    Dhari Alabdulhadi
    Dhari AlabdulhadiCTO and Founder, Ubuy Netherlands

    Create a Culture of Recognition

    Setting goals for any remote business has to start with communication. Engaging your team to secure the data you need to set goals means they are much more likely to be realistic. In order to create ambition, it's imperative that you create a culture of recognition—a culture where failure is an acceptable part of the process and a culture where learning is viewed as imperative.

    Edmund Monk
    Edmund MonkCEO, The Learning and Performance Institute

    Embrace Asynchronous Idea Sharing

    Managing an international team remotely can feel like herding cats in different time zones, but here's a tip: embrace asynchronous communication. Once, I scheduled a critical brainstorming session at a time that worked for everyone, only to realize half the team was running on coffee fumes. Now, we use collaborative tools where ideas can be shared and built upon over a 24-hour cycle. This approach not only respects everyone's work-life balance but also turns our diversity into a strength, with insights from Tokyo chiming in just as New York wakes up. Plus, the team's creativity flourishes when they contribute at their peak times, rather than just trying to stay awake.

    Josh Burris
    Josh BurrisCEO, STNDRD

    Leverage Cloud-Based Project Management

    At My Millennial Guide, we use cloud-based project management platforms to coordinate all workflows, deadlines, and file sharing across our distributed team. This creates a centralized system of record that everyone can access and reference, regardless of their location or time zone. We also have recurring video meetings to connect face-to-face, foster camaraderie, and ensure everyone is aligned on priorities. To accommodate global team members, we record sessions for asynchronous viewing.

    Beyond the tactical processes, it's also critical to proactively over-communicate and model emotional intelligence when managing remotely across cultures. I aim to provide ample context around decisions, be mindful of potential language barriers, and create a shame-free environment for team members to raise concerns or needs. With the right technological infrastructure coupled with inclusive communication practices, you can effectively manage talented individuals dispersed around the world and unlock an amazing diversity of perspectives to drive your business forward.

    Brian Meiggs
    Brian MeiggsFounder, My Millennial Guide

    Prioritize Open Communication and Accountability

    When managing an international team remotely, fostering open communication and accountability is key. At TutorCruncher, we prioritize regular check-ins and use digital tools to keep everyone connected. Our recent expansion, with a new office in Chicago, USA, highlights our commitment to global growth.

    We hold weekly video meetings to discuss progress, address challenges, and plan ahead, building a sense of community despite physical distance. Using TutorCruncher's platform, we manage tasks effectively, ensuring every tutor and client receives top-notch service.

    Mindful scheduling is essential. For example, we accommodate different time zones when onboarding new tutors, showing our support for their needs.

    Tom Hamilton-Stubber
    Tom Hamilton-StubberManaging Director, TutorCruncher

    Understand and Empower Team Diversity

    International teams can be a challenge to manage remotely. However, by following good team interaction discipline, this can become a joy!

    I have had the opportunity to work with international teams for over 20 years, and what I have found is that as a leader of the team, you must actively participate in the team activities. One piece of advice for effectively managing remotely is to understand the team members, what makes them tick, and lean on their strengths. For this to work effectively, you must build good rapport with team members, understand the cultural diversity, and what motivates each individual. For example, in some cultures, hierarchy is very important, whereas things are much more casual in the US, especially in Silicon Valley. As a leader, you should always try to make sure every team member is heard. Some team members are not comfortable speaking up, but creating a safe space for everyone to feel comfortable speaking up is important.

    Some tips -

    1. Have daily stand-up meetings with the team to see where everyone is and what help they need.

    2. Try to resolve help/issues by identifying who can assist and have them take the issue offline to discuss. Share notes or report back in the next day's meeting.

    3. Have one-on-one meetings with team members to understand them better.

    4. Provide opportunities for each team member to contribute.

    5. Recognize the contributions; refrain from criticizing in a team setting.

    6. Give constructive feedback separately and regularly to encourage.

    By following these guidelines, you can manage international teams remotely very effectively.

    Shishir Khedkar
    Shishir KhedkarHead of Engineering