To begin with, it is vital to understand how cultural differences influence the perception of team members and a group overall. It is fair to claim that this relation is reasonably tight, according to the responses Vandaveer received asking about the interviewees’ expectations from each other (2013). For instance, Steve spoke in terms of “drive, push, challenge, take control, exert her influence — all characteristic of… cultural dimensions of individualism” (Vandaveer, 2013, p. 282). Simultaneously, the author found Misha’s answers to fall within the frames of the collectivist culture (Vandaveer, 2013). Vandaveer makes such an assumption because of the words Misha used: “family, all on the same team, Steve is the boss, work so hard to do exactly what he says to do in the way he says to do it” (Vandaveer, 2013, p. 282). Thus, the author demonstrates how one’s cultural background may impact individuals’ vision of a team and its members.
Moreover, there can be various strategies of working in an international team; however, there are the principles of respect that should run the whole process. It could help organize safe-space sessions where everyone could express themselves, their expectations, and anticipations. The cultural exchange could extend employees’ perspectives in a group as they would understand their colleagues more. In this context, it is relevant to point out that communication is the essential element of management, and the choice of verbiage is, therefore, important too. Social intelligence becomes vital as influential leaders do not stop being attainable for their staff once they get to the top of the management leader. Noteworthy, via communication in a democratically managed group, the leader can build trust and, then, rely on the teamwork and delegate more (Ego & Madubueze, 2017). In a word, communication is the key to effective management, especially in the culture demonstrated in the text under discussion.
Moving on, it seems to be common knowledge that humor and, broadly speaking, laughing contribute to team-building: the shared experience of laughter strengthens trust within a group. That is why many team-building pieces of training include laughter, yoga, stand-up comedy, and so on. Moreover, not only does laughter contribute to one’s physical health, but it also affects the mental one. It releases endorphins, the so-called “happiness hormones,” while decreasing the cortisol level – hence, laugher mitigates stress itself (Yim, 2016). Meanwhile, it is also essential to consider the cultural differences, as some topics can be tabooed or, on the contrary, sacred for some members of an international team. In other words, humor can become an excellent tool for colleagues’ bonding and a team’s stress management, and there are many opportunities to implement laughing practices in the corporate activities list. However, some aspects should be considered so that the experience in no way harmed any member of a group.
Furthermore, it appears to be clear that personality traits and leadership styles, as well as various social factors, define a team member, which, therefore, affects their competence and loyalty. For example, in the article under discussion, it is demonstrated that Steve is a highly committed democratic leader with a Western background (Vandaveer, 2013). That all affected the way, he decided to manage the situation via respectful communication aiming to contribute to the staff’s development too.
It is critical to explore the career options for an employee having trouble working with a cohort or a department leader. On the one hand, there is always a path of least resistance, and sometimes it is the smartest choice that saves mental health and time. On the other hand, such an employee may consider moving to another department if their loyalty to the company is stronger than the conflict. Finally, as discussed above, communication is an excellent conflict-resolution tool, so it is also an option in this case.
Ego, D., & Madubueze, M. (2017). Democratic leadership style and organizational performance: An appraisal. International Journal of Development Strategies in Humanities, Management and Social Sciences, 9(3), 129 – 138.
Vandaveer, V. V. (2013). Dyadic team development across cultures: A case study. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 64(4), 279 – 294.
Yim, J. Therapeutic benefits of laughter in mental health: A theoretical review. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, 239, 243 – 249.