Cultural Competencies

When working abroad, either short-term or for relocation, dealing with employees in their home country requires managers to face some challenges. Different cultures have different behaviors, communication styles, assumptions, and expectations.

For good global leadership, there are six cultural competencies to navigate. These include:

A cosmopolitan outlook

This means being open-minded, having the ability to accept diversity and understand how to compete at a high-energy and fast-paced level. Successful managers will be comfortable across divergent cultural environments.

Intercultural communication skills

Successful managers should know at least two languages, their native tongue and the language of the country where they are assigned. Additionally, it’s important to appreciate the complexities of interacting with other cultures in the workplace. Communication is not just about talking. It is also about listening and interpreting the message and understanding the context of what’s being communicated.

Cultural sensitivity

It’s important to be aware of cultural differences and work to build relationships. Understand that a culture isn’t just the country, it’s also about regions, neighborhoods, and organizations as well.

Rapid acculturation skills

To work well in a global assignment, managers but be able to adjust quickly to their new surroundings. Things will be very different (and sometimes strange) from their home country. To demonstrate competence in a managerial role, it’s important to quickly catch on, understand risks, know how to take action and know when to ask for assistance as needed.

Flexible management style

Business practices are different from country to country and organization to organization. To be a successful manager in a global assignment, it’s necessary to understand and work well with others despite vast differences. For example, a signed contract can mean different things depending on the culture.

Cultural synergy

This means that managers can use their skills to build cross-cultural teams successfully. To do so, capitalize on cultural diversity so that it benefits the whole of the organization.

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