Managing Your International Team Without Letting Go Of The Reins

Many business owners understand the enormous benefits of having sales teams based in their international territories. Unfortunately, there are also a large number of disadvantages to recruiting internationally. Global operations can feel too distant and remote. Soon you may feel like you have to let go of the heart of your business and allow these international offices to become their own entity. That simply isn’t the case, if you know how to tackle the challenges of remote working effectively.

Managing your international teams can be easier than you think. The situation calls for you to manage your own time so that you can be available to them as they need you. That’s challenging enough in your own territory without having to worry about time zone differences as well. If you hate to travel, or you simply don’t have the time, you need to find other ways to personally communicate with your teams. Fortunately, technology has the answers.

Video conferencing gives you the chance to view the room and better measure the reactions and mood of your distant team. When you summon the entire office to a meeting, it confirms you’re the one in charge and you’re not letting go of the reins. Do this weekly, so you are continuously and reliably available to discuss issues. Try not to treat it just like a meeting, but instead make it less formal. Chat about local issues both there and here. Catch up on a personal level with the key members of your international team.

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Photo courtesy of Andreas Gohr via flickr

Personnel challenges are common when you’re not there in person. It can be too tricky to route all your HR function through your local head office. Instead, you might find it useful to consult experts in global payroll to ensure you are meeting local requirements at home and abroad. You should also outsource your recruitment drives to local providers to ensure you don’t make any cultural or legal faux pas.

Training your remote team can be particularly challenging when you’re not there. You will need excellent resources to guide the team (potentially in their local language) through your preferred business practices. Their understanding and compliance must be tested, so don’t be afraid to set up a couple of exams or practical tests. Again, video calls are very useful here. You can set up a webinar that offers the opportunity for feedback and interaction while you present your ideas. Contracting an educational video production company could be very useful here.

Ultimately, you’re going to need someone to take the lead in your overseas office. This individual may be a sales manager so helping them to become a good leader as well takes some careful planning. They may need your guidance and coaching. You may even become their mentor, but you need to clearly draw the line when it comes to their limitations. You’re the boss, and the buck ultimately stops with you. Make it clear which issues they can seek to resolve themselves, and which must go over their head directly to you.

Managing an overseas team has its challenges, but it’s not impossible. A global presence can help you reach the territories you need with success. How do you manage yours?

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