How to manage a multicultural team and its advantages

We spoke to Francisco Muñoz, Head of Project Managers, and José Luis Boronat, Software Integration Area Manager, to learn how they manage one of the teams with the largest number of nationalities and the advantages that this entails.

May 21st is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. At EDICOM, we have approximately 700 professionals from 29 different nationalities. This diversity in our teams brings us opportunities, as it broadens our perspective as we take on each project with companies and entities from 70 different countries that we work with.

We spoke to Francisco Muñoz, Head of Project Managers, and José Luis Boronat, Software Integration Area Manager, to learn how they manage one of the teams with the largest number of nationalities and the advantages that this entails.

EDICOM: What are the keys to managing a multicultural team?

JOSÉ LUIS BORONAT: The key to managing a multicultural team is a natural approach. You need to try to integrate people within the team as soon as possible, and to do so, communication is key. You have to have a lot of communication with people, getting to know them well, seeing all their strengths in order to get the most out of that team member.

FRANCISCO MUÑOZ: From my point of view, respect is the starting point, and it is important to develop the rest within the team. Under this prism, it is necessary to be a facilitator, helping technicians, seeking the integration of people into the team as soon as possible, showing empathy and taking care of communication.

It is important to detect or identify each member’s skills in order to focus a project and organize it to make the most of each person’s abilities. This means encouraging collaborations within the team between different team members to try to create bonds, while helping to speed up the learning curve of those people who may be more junior.

In addition, the team’s growth should not be limited to the working environment. We should also engage in some extra-work activity, such as going out for a drink or a meal, which helps to create a good atmosphere so that people consider themselves part of the team and give the best version of themselves, becoming more efficient.

E: How does the presence of people of different nationalities in the team enrich the experience?

J.L.B.: It gives us diversity, above all diversity. Having different cultural tones offers us a different point of view from the one we might have in Spain, contributing a parallel ‘outside the box’ thinking, which helps us resolve many issues within the problems our team has to tackle on a daily basis.

F.M.: The fact of having different nationalities within the team means enhancing the team’s capacity per se: skills, languages, other points of view, diversity, idiosyncrasies of other countries and cultures, etc. It contributes other skills which we probably wouldn’t otherwise have when it comes to assigning a project. This makes it easier for you and gives you more opportunities to participate in those projects that would otherwise be more difficult. So, it’s really an opportunity for the whole team.

Another aspect is having a closer relationship with the client. At the end of the day, we seek a relationship of excellence with the client and not only deliver a technical aspect, but also provide a service and really work as a team alongside the client. So this approach is positive.