2. Communication Gaps
Leadership competency in communicating with a global team is largely different in a team setting where the members are co-located. Lack of skills for discerning the appropriate communication style and technological tools can break down trust. Trust is an essential component for maintaining productive networking activities and for spawning other development processes.
A global team leader’s skills in communicating include the ability to project a role model who possesses the universally accepted traits of a good leader:
- charismatic or compelling,
- value-based; one who takes into consideration the core values of the organization as part of a culture
- emotionally intelligent, which is described as the ability to overcome the stresses of cross-cultural interactions and recognize the factors to be nurtured for adaptation and growth.
- humane or caring
- participative in the sense that he or she involves the members in decision-making processes
Instinctively, team members measure the leader’s competency and style against his method and manner of communication. The clarity and timeliness of conveying instructions plus the suitability of medium used in transmitting instructions make up for the limitations of not having non-virtual face-to-face meetings.
Voice intonation and audibility are factors by which virtual team members form a perception of the type of leader. There may be differences by which languages are interpreted, but often the manner in which it is delivered is used to validate the appropriate interpretation.
Silence in response to a query can be interpreted in several ways. It can be taken as a challenge to make one’s own decisions, or simply, a disinterest in whichever way one may choose to interpret the issue. In a more practical sense, silence indicates that the message was not received due to technical problems or that the recipient is not available or is unable to respond.
As a result, conflicts arise from the uneven distribution of information, and may further be interpreted as discrimination. Basically, a project management leader’s problems in a global context are hurdled by one’s ability to communicate effectively and can be assessed by following areas of intercultural sensitivity:
- If the leader experiences positive feelings toward interacting with members coming from different cultures;
- If positive responses or reciprocity of interactions toward the global leader are elicited from people of different cultures;
- If there is successful attainment of a goal and eventually, successful completion of a project;
- If cross-cultural barriers are managed without suffering from culture-contact stress.
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