What is intercultural competence?
Intercultural competence includes the attitudes, knowledge, and interpersonal skills that allow us to understand, appreciate, and work with individuals from cultures other than our own. It has also been defined as “the appropriate and effective management of interactions between people who, to some degree or another, represent different or divergent affective, cognitive, and behavioral orientations to the world” (Spitzberg and Chagnon, 2009, p. 7)
Some benefits of developing intercultural competence you can expect include:
Optimal Contributions from Diverse Talent
You will develop positive feelings toward diverse talent and encourage positive feelings from diverse talent. This will lead to the ability to elicit optimum contributions from them.
Teams that Innovate from Balancing Shared Experiences with Different Inspirations
You will avoid conformity from overemphasizing cultural similarities and avoid fragmentation from overemphasizing cultural differences. This means you will learn to develop a balanced focus and value both cultural similarities and cultural differences equally. You will be able to develop and maximize contributions from your teams based on both shared experiences (common goals, needs, and interests) and different inspirations (new ideas, practices, and values).
Improved Retention, Morale, and Productivity
You will learn to understand more complex perceptions and experiences of cultural differences and similarities. This means you will be able to eliminate interpretations of behaviour and actions based on bias and stereotypes and increase interpretations of behaviour and actions based on cultural frameworks such as culturally-based communication styles. This will help you to create an inclusive workplace where your employees feel respected and experience a sense of belonging. Your success in this area will help to prevent conflicts, increase morale and productivity, and improve retention.
All these benefits will ultimately help you to maintain a competitive advantage and increase your bottom line.
“As executive director of Canadian Mental Health Association Battleford’s Branch, I was fortunate for the opportunity to engage Angeline Chia as my professional coach through ICF Saskatchewan’s Community Support Program. During our coaching sessions, Angeline’s thought-provoking questions helped me make positive changes to work load management, gave me the opportunity to consider new approaches to conflict resolution and encouraged me to learn more about myself.”
–Jane Zielke de Montbrun
Contact us to discuss how we can help you realize these benefits and more for your organization.