Many teams and their members are working from home. They miss their colleagues and social interactions. Cultures which devote their time to fostering personal relationships are looking for opportunities how to get in touch with their colleagues. And they expect from their leaders to establish a virtual environment which compensates for the lack of social contact.
As an intercultural consultant supporting virtual teams and their leaders, I receive a lot of questions on how to “warm up” relationships and cooperation during virtual meetings. What questions could they ask in a multicultural environment not to be rude or impolite to their colleagues?
There are thousands of free articles with the recommendations on activities and questions for virtual leaders. However, many of them do not take into account cultural differences and how to respect values and attitudes of colleagues coming from different cultural backgrounds.
What 20 questions can leaders of virtual teams ask to encourage respect and mutual understanding across cultures?
- Can you share 3 words to describe your culture for our team?
- What places would you recommend to visit in your country (region)? Team members could be asked to design a slide with photos and share it quickly with their team.
- What is your favorite dish?
- Where is the last place in your country you went on vacation?
- What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
- What is a favorite proverb in your culture?
- What stereotypes are spread about your culture?
- What is difficult for you working in a multicultural team?
- If I was going to visit your country, what advice would you give me?
- What countries would you like to visit?
- What have you accomplished in the last year that you are proud of?
- What do you do in your free time with your friends/family?
- What invention is your country well known for?
- What historical period of your country would you like to live in and why?
- What tradition in your country would you describe to understand your culture?
- What challenges does your country face these days?
- What values should a leader in your culture have?
- Tell us 2 truths and 1 lie about your country?
- What gifts do people bring when they visit their friends and colleagues in your country?
- What topics are not recommended to talk about having a small talk with colleagues or business partners in your culture?
Part 1: How to keep remote team members engaged