Do you feel at ease when dealing with foreigners? Do you get the job done when working with people from other countries? If you encounter many misunderstandings and feel exhausted, it is time that you start thinking in terms of Cultural Intelligence.
What is Culturally Intelligent?
Well, in its basic meaning, it refers to the adaptability that an individual shows when being under influence or impact of non-native culture. In other words, being able to work with different cultural backgrounds, or adopting the perspectives of those in foreign countries. Or, it indicates individual’s overall performance in a new working environment, specifically abroad. Therefore cultural intelligence includes three key elements:
In order to get through a situation, you have never experienced before, motivation is required. If there is no motivation, there will be no willingness to try to adapt into the new culture and the individual will never be able to create harmony between his or her mother culture and the target culture. Gaining motivation demands getting out of the comfort zone and get show on road with a positive behavior.
The element of motivation is considered the most important requirement to open up to new cultural mindsets. Motivation will allow the individual to not be discouraged by the petty differences and aspire to create a common ground for everyone to stand on.
After improving motivation, you must apply your innermost skills to boost as much knowledge regarding the target culture as possible. To do this, there is a tremendous need to obtain the necessary information on the target culture before being exposed to it, as incomprehension will breed uncertainty, which in turn, will lead to lack of success in any kind of work. This knowledge is needed to understand by both parties in the process of cultural intelligence and get the picture of the basic lifestyles of the people in the target culture.
This might be the easiest element, because reading books, checking out local blogs, making some research about the native diet, fashion, transportation and politics is a good way of understanding the mindsets of people from different cultural backgrounds
If there is no proper strategy, establishing the elements of motivation and knowledge will not be possible. Therefore both sides need to assess the cultural gap and think of matters from the other person’s point of view in order to manage deadlines and minimize conflicts between colleagues from different cultural backgrounds working in the same environment. To implement this, one must be sufficiently encouraged as well as know enough of the target culture and not to take any wrong steps.
You should also plan ahead to keep the usage of language to a mutually understandable degree. When you have a conversation, it is a good idea to be polite to ensure a smooth exchange of ideas. Sometimes a non-native speaker will fail to get references or speech pattern, so it is wise to avoid them. There must be no confusion in communication, with emphasis on maintaining accuracy at all times.
To conclude, it can only be said that the factors of motivation, knowledge and strategy are irreplaceable in the foundation of productive cultural intelligence. Anyone spending a momentous and important fragment of their lives in their native land with little exposure to a foreign culture will be a true victim of the differences faced in such situations. Therefore, if you acquire all these three elements of cultural intelligence you will build a bridge between different cultures, and eventually, different perspectives.