Project Management

Leading a Global Project Team

Liesbeth van der Linden

More and more companies rely on resources that are scattered around the globe. Expertise is not necessarily found in one organization, and companies often create project teams with market, technical or local experts based in different locations. On the one hand, there are great benefits in bringing together different work techniques, cultures and experiences in global teams. On the other hand, it can create new challenges for the project leader to align work practices, build trust with and between team members, and find ways to motivate and inspire across cultures.

The leadership of global teams has been a critical aspect of my research, consulting, and coaching for many years. I have spoken and interviewed countless leaders and managers about their challenges in leading global teams and have experienced first-hand in my role as project manager and consultant leading large process improvement teams at tech corporations such as NXP and ASML how some teams get entirely stuck while others manage to collaborate exceptionally well and are able to innovate and make progress.

The main determinant of how well international teams work together comes ultimately down to their project leaders. In order to inspire the team, the project leader must first be able to build an environment of trust with and among the team members. The project leader is the glue that holds the team together…

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