How to manage a global PR team with effectiveness
[By Jason Mollica]
Global PR teams are nothing new, but the challenges of a widely dispersed team are ongoing. International growth and team diversity can pose unique challenges, such as cultural and communication differences. But, working in multicultural teams can also offer many rewards and benefits.
Being exposed to different ideas and perspectives not only benefits workplace relationships, but it can also lead to improved productivity and business success.
Whether you have a public relations team working in one country or four, as a leader you are responsible for ensuring your team’s individual and group success. When team members are global, maintaining team focus and ensuring that everyone is working toward the same goals can be one of the greatest challenges.
There is a great TED talk by Roselinde Torres in which she stresses that to be a great leader in the 21st century, you must focus on three key points. One of those points is relying on a diverse network of people to gain ideas. An effective PR manager or leader will adapt to new cultural environments and avoid making assumptions about what behaviors mean.
For example, in the U.S. and Canada, an employee who says, “I can do this” likely means he/she is willing and able to do what you asked. In another country, however, the same statement may simply signal the employee wants to try, not that he/she is confident of success. Before drawing conclusions, you need to ask questions. Inquiring may yield greater insight into how the person truly feels about accomplishing the task.
Goal-setting by leaders, especially ones that are forward thinking, can be inspiring and drive employees to a higher level. By creating a learning environment that fosters growth, it promotes a deeper understanding of the goals, mission, and vision, which is likely to foster greater alignment, identification, and strategic focus throughout an organization.
Good managers and leaders also look for opportunities for global teams to work together as often as possible. This allows employees to learn from each other while getting to know one other. Managing a global PR team comes with its own set of unique challenges, but finding ways to connect across borders and leveraging a diverse skill set can strengthen team cohesion, employee engagement and boost workforce productivity.
One of the great things about being able to lead a team, or teams, is the opportunity to help shape and guide individuals and groups to do the right thing. You have to understand where you want to take your team, share the road map to get to that destination, and help them figure out their roles in getting there. To do so, you must provide clarity, candor, communications and focus. Without it, your global PR team will be scattered. Take the time to understand what your team members need to succeed – not just locally, but globally.