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THE CATALYST: What is Cultural Intelligence and its Importance in the Workplace?

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By Felix C. Veroya

This week, I have started taking my first course in the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) that I have been admitted. The first module is about Cultural Intelligence, and I was amazed by the things I have acquired about this topic by far. As usual, I want to share these learnings here.

Workplaces nowadays are more multicultural than ever, and it’s common to work with individuals from all walks of life. Many new opportunities have arisen because of this, but there have also been some obstacles.

Cultural distinctions go beyond nationality, race, and religious beliefs. Many of us work in intergenerational companies with younger or older coworkers who have completely different cultural references, beliefs, and attitudes than we do. Even within the same company, cultural disputes can occur between departments and teams.

All of this implies that we must improve our ability to comprehend and operate in a wide range of cultures. This is when Cultural Intelligence, often known as Cultural Quotient (CQ), comes into play.

People who are knowledgeable about the concept of CQ are not necessarily experts. Instead, they are people who can navigate confidently in unfamiliar surroundings and make decisions based on observations and data. These individuals decipher unusual or ambiguous conduct, and they can identify the impact of a given culture by recognizing shared influences among certain groups.

Why is cultural intelligence important in the workplace?

  1. It creates harmony. Team members become sympathetic and sensitive to differing perspectives and perceptions as their cultural intelligence grows. Coworkers that are adaptable and can integrate into each other’s cultures can create a harmonious working culture, which makes it simpler to be productive. Culturally intelligent leaders may find it simpler to form strong team bonds. Team-building exercises, for example, can help members understand one other’s strengths and shortcomings and collaborate to solve challenges.
  1. It improves communication. Cultural intelligence is a critical component of efficient workplace communication, particularly in a big firm with a diverse range of cultural personalities. How conduct is interpreted in an unfamiliar situation is part of workplace communication. A culturally knowledgeable team can communicate more effectively and understand one another, resulting in fewer misunderstandings.
  1. It expands innovation. Organizations rely on their team’s capacity to see chances for innovation, such as creating and executing new sales methods in a new market. Cultural intelligence may help people improve their capacity to adapt to a changing population while also fostering an environment where everyone feels free to express themselves.
  1. It encourages healthy competition. Organizations that include cultural diversity are more likely to attract enterprises and top talent as globalization makes the globe a more dynamic and competitive commercial environment. Companies can boost their chances of obtaining the top personnel with high cultural intelligence by promoting cross-cultural applications rather than selecting from exclusively domestic applicants.

In my experience, knowing CQ is really an advantage to better understand the people in our workplace. This will reduce the probability of creating conflicts and promote a harmonious working environment for everyone.

In my next article, I will be sharing with you how to get your personal Cultural Intelligence Profile and share my results, too.

Let’s continue to be #significantlybetter culturally intelligent professionals, together!

Do you want to talk? Get in touch with me thru fcveroya@asklexph.com.

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