Wikipedia defines intercultural competence as “a range of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills that lead to effective and appropriate communication with people of other cultures.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had a built-in intercultural competence meter? This meter could alert us when our competence levels are too low or when they’re too high. It could also make us aware of our own skillset – are we competent enough culturally to effectively communicate with people of different cultures? Since there is no such internal meter, we are responsible for determining our own levels of intercultural competence and assessing our need for building that skillset.
Luckily, Bright Places can help! We use a tool called the Intercultural Development Inventory, which helps us determine our ability to navigate cultural differences. While it’s not a built-in, internal competence meter, it is an internal evaluation of your cultural mindset.
Your mindset is an important factor in the way you interact with others. It determines how you “see” them, what you believe about them, and how you treat them. It is important for us to reflect on our view of those who are different and choose how we want to be perceived as well. You see, our mindset growth is a personal journey. A helpful question to ask ourselves is, “Do I want to be part of the problem or part of the solution when it comes to cultural differences?”
Let’s get comfortable with being uncomfortable so that we can do the work necessary to develop a mindset of “acceptance” and “adaptation.”