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15 Cultural Intelligence Principles For People Managers and Global Professionals


Cultural Intelligence Principles
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

CQ is the new EQ


Cultural intelligence (CQ) refers to the ability to understand and adapt to unfamiliar cultural contexts. In today's globalized world, where businesses operate across borders and individuals from different cultures work together, the importance of understanding cultural differences in business is crucial for global professionals and people managers. Cultural Intelligence is the extension of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in that it takes leaders and professionals one step further. Being able to empathize with others and react in a way that considers the various perspectives involved is crucial, but then recognizing that there are cultural reasons underlying these, and being able to recognize these patterns allows one to adapt more readily and manage more effectively these multicultural contexts.


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We've found there are key principles that underline one's ability to be effective in cultural contexts. By using the 15 Principles of cultural competency, you will be able to navigate the complexities of cultural diversity, build strong relationships and connections, and effectively collaborate with people from various backgrounds. These 15 principles are geared towards you achieving very specific and measurable outcomes in your workplace and professional endeavours. They increase your cultural awareness and help you overcome cultural adversity starting with the most important abilities we'll discuss in detail below.


How to Build Connections With Others


In a world characterized by globalization and diversity, understanding and adapting to different cultures is paramount. In reality, we should all be learning as children how to build connections with anyone, anywhere. It is that important of a skill is a skill that all of us should learn from very young. The 15 foundational principles promote an inclusive company culture by enhancing leadership skills and fostering cultural awareness. They emphasize the importance of clear communication to avoid misunderstandings and show how vital communication is in building relationships with peers.


Principles for Building Connections:

#2 Sincere Interest in Others - Being sincerely interested in others and not always needing yourself to be the most interesting contributes to building trust in a relationship from the beginning.


#3 Appreciating Differences - By acknowledging that differences are not necessarily a negative thing, but rather appreciating uniqueness, you will build more affinity and nurture stronger connections.


#4 Effective Communication - Clear and candid communication is the foundation of any meaningful connection as it allows you to dispel cultural assumptions, fostering deeper trust and understanding.


#14 Simple Pleasures in Connecting - Highlighting the importance of finding joy in getting to know someone better and sharing special moments is a sure way to build rapport.


Why is It Important to Interact With Different Cultures?


In an increasingly globalized world, the significance of interacting with different cultures cannot be overstated. It’s important to understand cultural differences in business since companies are going global and workers are migrating to different countries throughout the world. One of the most effective ways of debunking stereotypes and unlearning bias is through exposure to those exact groups of people you don't know well. The more you learn about others, their cultural training, belief systems and behavioural nuances, the more you increase your CQ and are able to foster a healthy team culture. Practicing this new understanding and appreciation for others helps you grow emotionally and helps your company succeed across the globe.


Principles for Interacting With Different Cultures:


#1 Willingness to Learn - The importance of being open to learning from anyone, regardless of their cultural background is paramount. If you think you already know everything you stop yourself from gaining new information or insights that could help you make better decisions, especially in across cultures.


#10 Compromise for the Whole - A team is made up of unique individuals with their own cultural and social influences. However they must believe in similar goals or values in order for a group to be successful. It is essential to align personal goals and values with the group and compromise when in the group's best interest.


#13 Peaceful Environments - Recognizing that most other people don’t intentionally wish you harm or desire to make your life difficult but rather are often motivated by conflicting interests you’re not aware of is key to giving people the benefit of the doubt and engaging in active listening.


#15 Trust and Reciprocity - Realizing that investing time in building rapport leads to reciprocity which strengthens relationships will encourage you to put more attention on building diverse connections.


Develop Cultural Intelligence in the Workplace
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How to Develop Cultural Intelligence in the Workplace


Cultural intelligence is a skill, a competence, that you develop over the years of being exposed to people from various cultures, and learning about their cultural teachings and belief systems. Once you recognize the many patterns that become cultural rules and expectations for different groups of people, you become more agile in multicultural scenarios. For this reason CQ is one of the most sought out skills for global professionals and is essential for creating a healthy, diverse and inclusive workplace. It is crucial for organizations to help develop and promote CQ among their teams in order to build a positive company culture and grow with the times.


Principles for Developing Cultural Intelligence:


#5 Take Responsibility - Encouraging employees and leaders to take responsibility for their own biases and be willing to be wrong about preconceived ideas without making it unsafe to make mistakes.


#6 Be Open to New Environments - Reminding people to keep an open mind, exploring both physical and emotional places that they may be afraid of initially. It is beyond comfort zones where growth occurs.


#8 Continuous Self-Reflection - Advocating for continuously questioning one's viewpoint and comparing it with others to improve cultural intelligence and identify how your own culture has shaped your viewpoints.


#9 Belief in Others - Stressing in your teammates that believing in others without the need to force one's beliefs on them will encourage folks to speak up when they disagree and promote a harmonious workplace at the same time.


Cultural Intelligence Enable Leaders
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How Does High Cultural Intelligence Enable Leaders to Adapt to Novel Situations?


High cultural intelligence equips leaders with the foresight and ability to identify the true root of cultural challenges or team upsets. By fostering cultural awareness, empathy, and adaptability, their leadership skills are heightened to thrive in any environment. Let's explore some key principles that build this adaptability in leaders and increases their cultural competence.


Principles for Adapting to Novel Situations:


#7 Courage in Uncomfortable Situations - Promoting being courageous in entering unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations. As you can only learn by doing and doing things that are difficult propel you to new heights of understanding and ability.


#11 Majority Good Over Self-Interest - The importance of making decisions based on the collective good rather than self-interest goes hand in hand with the concept of both conscious leadership and servant leadership — leaders who are empathetic to the needs of the whole team in order for the group to thrive.


#12 Recognizing Good Intentions - By emphasizing that most individuals do not intend harm or difficulty when navigating cross-cultural situations, but rather may lack the cultural understanding, leaders can resolve team conflicts more easily, maintain composure when challenged and simply be more adaptable.


By applying these principles, individuals and organizations can cultivate cultural intelligence, foster harmonious cross-cultural connections, create an inclusive company culture, and thrive in the ever-evolving global landscape.


For a deeper understanding of these principles and an easy to use reference tool for building cultural relationships, download a copy of our "15 Principles to Connecting with Anyone, Anywhere." It's time to join the conversation.


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