1. Don't skip the introductions. Unless you make a special effort to get acquainted, your remote colleagues will always seem like relative strangers. When we know someone personally, the relationship tends to be stronger and more collaborative, so take time to learn about your faraway co-workers. Check them out on Facebook or LinkedIn, initiate a get-acquainted email exchange, or chat about your backgrounds on the phone. The better you know them, the more you will understand their perspective.
For managers: You can't effectively manage someone who doesn't know you, so meet all your employees in person at least once, even if it means traveling overseas. One face-to-face encounter can make a tremendous difference in their ability to relate to you as their manager.
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2. Avoid cultural blunders. When working with colleagues from other countries, you may be puzzled by unfamiliar and unexpected communication patterns or work habits. So before collaborating with someone from a different part of the world, take time to learn about their culture. Many websites provide information about specific business practices in various countries. If you deal with many different cultures, the Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands series by Terri Morrison and Wayne Conway will be a useful reference. Finally, remember that even in your own country, there may be regional differences.
For managers: One common cultural variable is the expected reaction to people in authority. If you are supervising employees from other countries, find out if their culture encourages them to be more deferential or assertive. Otherwise, you may misinterpret their reactions.