When your team mates work in a different time zone, have different cultures and are working on multiple projects, it is easy to lose sight on the project deadlines and timelines and become less and less efficient. It becomes extremely difficult to coordinate with your team mates and in the eventuality, project failure occurs. In order to avoid this, it is important to understand the challenges that arise due to working in global virtual teams.
It starts from the very beginning, recruitment. It is important to place the right person for the right job, more so when it comes to virtual teams. The persons working in these teams need to be able to work independently but not be lone wolves. They need to be self-reliant, self- motivated, result oriented and at the same time be dedicated team players.
Even with the right team members, the lack of effective virtual team leaders causes strain to effective global virtual teams. An effective team leader is supposed to motivate his team members and also build on trust. This becomes difficult when the team members are dispersed around the globe. Finding an effective virtual team leader is important in any virtual teams.
Another challenge that global virtual teams face is technology. Technology has been improving over the last few decades and luckily, most advances have been in communication and logistics. However, there usually still are hindrances to global virtual teams when technology is involved. Disparity of technology in the resident regions of team members causes blocks in the effectiveness of the virtual teams. It is important to synchronize technology across teams in order to minimize the effects of it.
Moreover, due to the fact that different team members work in different styles and communicate differently, there usually arises the likelihood of poor communication, feeling of isolation and lack of relationships and engagement. It is important to note that a cohesive virtual team will only be effective if tools to promote proper communication are put in place, virtual team building exercises as well as cultural intelligence training will greatly improve the mood of team members working together.
Cultural differences are at most times present when dealing with global teams. Unfortunately, they are the biggest challenge faced by global virtual teams. Creating an environment of better cultural understanding and intelligence through coaching and personal training will help curb these scenarios. Cultural difficulties lead to communication breakdown which may lead to project failure. It is important to recognize cultural programming and preferences in order to understand the team members.
That being said, it is important to note that most of the challenges that global virtual teams face are, in fact, manageable through employment of simple virtual collaboration techniques and methods that help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the teams by helping in the building and support of individual team members and their skills and attributes.