"The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people."
Cultural Intelligence, today, is one of the essential skills that provide a competitive advantage to leaders. It is the ability to adapt to a working network of diverse people and thrive. Technology has brought us closer to each other and has allowed us to communicate through the gaps effectively. Today we know that augmented reality is different from virtual reality. In such time of tech advancement, it is an unsaid obligation to become culturally intelligent. It is not just about realizing the cultural differences within the workforce and solving them but much more than that.
A culturally intelligent leader puts in the extra effort to understand and reciprocate the values and beliefs of people from different cultures. He makes the changes within the firm look easy! It is this quality that is as important as any soft skill set. It is undoubtedly different from emotional intelligence(EQ), where a leader understands the emotions and needs of his employees and acts accordingly. But what is its essence in the business world? We will analyze it in the next part of the article, but first, let's get a quick intro to the term CQ!
Professors Christopher Earley and Soon Ang mentioned the need to accept cultural diversity in their book, 'Cultural Intelligence' in 2003. It is where the term gained its literal and practical significance. Cultural conflicts are explained with different ethnicities, nationalities, beliefs, perceptions, and age groups, but how inclusive leaders are, decides the success in the B world today. How a leader builds around the motivation to acknowledge diversity and strategies he frames out to show his support is an excellent indicator of cultural intelligence!
Business Presence and Significance
An Extraordinary Tool
During negotiations, leaders with higher CQ interact firmly with multiple groups, with sophistication, clearly displaying the intention of working together. They are always far-sighted and strive to benefit all the parties involved.
Enables Easy Communication
Since leaders with higher CQ respect everyone with an opinion, it is easy to reach out to them and communicate effectively. People undoubtedly rely on them.
Inculcates Empathy and gives Perspective
Accepting diversity involves walking in the shoes of that other person! Hence, cultural intelligence can give a new perspective to the leaders and inculcate empathy among them.
Variety of Resources and Talent
With the variety of ethnicity, nationality, age group, etc., organizations pool in different resources, mindsets, and plethora of talent. It not only brings a cosmo culture within the firm but also enhances the work culture healthily.
Builds Interpersonal Relations
The employees and managers who are inclusive of the variety of their team members tend to build and strengthen their interpersonal relationships with them.
Breaks down Knowledge Gaps
People with high CQ always focus on sharing the benefits of cross-culture teams with their peers and seniors. They believe in transferring knowledge to eliminate any gaps as such.
What can We Do and Why?
So, the question arrives at why should we be culturally intelligent? In addition to its benefits above, on a personal level, it helps you grow. It gives you a fresh perspective of how you can quickly get on with a project. So to boost your CQ, you need to have the right drive, knowledge of the culture, and strategize your actions for a compelling impact.
- The drive is the motivation to know and accept the new culture. This part involves getting into different projects or volunteer work, or learning a new language.
- Knowledge implies understanding how culture shapes individuals. For example, A Namaste is an Indian greeting system, whereas bowing down is Japan's technique.
- Strategies include how well you observe and frame policies that will suit all cultures individually. You will have to update yourself and network with a variety of people to be able to strategize. Example- Updating website content that works for cross culture teams.
- The last part is the behavioral aspect. How you react to people's actions and what you say determines the success of your firm. If you doubt, don't shy away from pointing out the difference to get the clarity. What's essential is handling difficulties with ease!
The Future of Growth
We are culturally evolving, and let's face it, challenges are inevitable. Doing a project all by yourself is neither an option nor is it fun! Today small businesses can leverage the benefits of large deployments at low cost. The better people adapt to a cultural shift, whether on an onsite or offsite, it will build the firm's reputation in the long run. Right now is the time for leaders to formulate the method of sharing cultural importance with the employees.
A leader with higher CQ enables his head, body, and heart to look at the bright side of differences. They understand that purpose driven networks are important for firms today. These leaders adapt quickly and balance easily. After all, Cultural Intelligence is here to stay, and we must focus on magnifying it within us. Why? Because it guarantees a positive work standard, encourages people's inclusivity, and imparts respect and confidence to the team members. Isn't that supposed to be an ideal workplace?
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