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Common challenges of a multicultural team

What challenges might you face as a manager of a multicultural team? Read this article to find out.
Lots of people in an office
© CIPD

Culture is a fundamental aspect of a person’s identity, therefore incorporating a culturally agile mindset is critical to being an inclusive leader.

In a society where unchecked bias and stereotyping is prevalent, managers need to be consciously aware of the challenges that they may face. Here are a few possible challenges to consider:

  • Styles of communication (this could lead to misunderstanding tone and for example labelling it aggression, etc.)
  • Language barriers
  • Cultural differences
  • The decision-making process
  • Challenge of motivating a culturally diverse team (due to lack of understanding)
  • Differences in professional etiquette
  • Navigating visa requirements & employment laws
  • Colleagues from some cultures may be less likely to let their voices be heard

Challenges that could be encountered do not just depend on the managers. It is important that your organisation is actively working on being inclusive collectively. If you are not actively attracting and recruiting a variety of talent in the first place, your efforts to become an inclusive leader will be futile.

For example, your organisation’s HR management systems should ensure that they are bias free, in areas such as recruitment, training, promotion, and performance.

Also, what is the general mindset throughout your organisation where diversity and inclusion is concerned? This will naturally filter down to how teams are managed. How challenges are presented and addressed play a role in the success of leading inclusively.

© CIPD
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