RW³ CultureWizard has just published the 4th biennial Global Virtual Teams Survey Report and the findings are quite fascinating. By and large, the survey results highlight the changing nature of the modern global workplace as the majority of corporate teams now operate in a virtual space. In fact, over 40% of all respondents have never met their team members in person. Compounding the challenges of working in an often-faceless virtual environment are the cultural hurdles that leaders and team members face when working on intercultural teams, as they often do. In fact, 48% of respondents revealed that more than half of their teams include members from other nations.

However, the most profound findings from the survey highlight the disconnect between team leaders and their teams when it comes to leading in a virtual and intercultural workplace. 58% of respondents indicated that global team leaders are not adequately prepared to lead multicultural teams. While at the same time, 96% of respondents who self-identified as team leaders consider themselves to be “either effective or highly effective” when it comes to leading multicultural teams.” Wow, that’s a 38% disconnect between team leaders and the groups they lead!

So what does that 38% disconnect highlight? Well, when you consider that 68% of survey respondents “reported that cultural challenges were the biggest hurdle to global virtual team productivity,” it highlights the need for more comprehensive intercultural training.  Leading a face-to-face team at your home office can be difficult enough, but when you add a global, virtual and intercultural component, effective leadership becomes extraordinarily complex, and in looking at these survey findings, there’s a pressing need for increased intercultural leadership training.

Have a look at the report. Do you work on a virtual, intercultural team? What are some of the biggest challenges you face? We would love to hear your thoughts. Want more insight on virtual global teams? Download the report below.