Thank you for coming back!
In my first article I wrote about the power of culture and how you can benefit from it.
Indeed, there are a lot of benefits if you are an inclusive and diverse company or country. It stabilizes workforces & societies, nurtures your own culture, and enhances competitiveness. But it would be illusional to think, that there are just positive outcomes if different cultures clash together.
In this article I will provide 4 principles of interculturalism, that will give you an understanding of what is really important for a harmonious co-existence within a company and/or a society. It is important to set aside our differences and find commonalities. We need to engage in discussions and find a common ground for developing new cultures.
I will dive deeper into the topic of intercultural communication - but for now, I want to emphasize the importance of respectful communication. Communication unites and divides people. It gives you the opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the other’s global perception and the possibility to minimize misunderstandings & conflicts.
What do I mean by that? I mean having the curiosity and commitment, the openness and the respect towards a new culture. Set aside the desire to be the “leading” or dominant culture, where others have to assimilate themselves to fit in your picture. Nobody will ever feel included in a company's and/or society's culture if you force them to align with the dominant culture.
Listen & Learn
Gather knowledge about the new culture, and find out how your employees or other in your environment think. Try to understand their behavior - why and how they decide on different topics. Why do they act and feel in certain ways. Directly ask your colleagues/employees or acquaintances why they act the way they do. Be compassionate and try not to judge.
Focus on commonalities - not differences
Intercultural intelligence is showing empathy for the other human being and to be understanding, without judging one's behavior. The most important thing here is, to look for commonalities and not differences. As differences tear us apart, we should focus on what we like, what common traditions/rituals are, our common favorite food, similar society norms, and more. It is our task to think about possibilities on how we can deal with our differences. The art is to build bridges.
Besides that, it is self-evident that equal dignity is key. No culture is better than the other. For example, the are some cultures that worry more, and others don’t. Especially in these times, it is difficult to handle worries, if you get to know other cultures which might be foreign to us at the first sight.
For now, I will let you think about my words for a moment. And I’m happy to welcome you to my next article, which will be about intercultural competencies in general.
All the best,