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  • Writer's pictureAngela Pearson

Cultural Competency- What is it?

Photo by Anurag Sharma from Pexels

Cultural Competency by professional classification is the ability to interact efficaciously with people of different cultures. As leaders, it is critical to demonstrate this proficiency as we work with customers, the community, and others. Diversity is pervasive, and the workplace presents an incredibly complex atmosphere to test abilities. The advantage here is that by having leaders better comprehend their own beliefs, they will be better able to target approaches to support others and appreciate one another’s commonalities and differences.

Some challenges of diversity are apparent, while others may not be so transparent. Every challenge does not have a clear-cut remedy. There is no specific rule or policy on which to rely. Still, by working under the presumption of favorable intent and mutual respect, open communication will help resolve fears and concerns that might otherwise become wide gaps of misinterpretation.

Cultural competence is a voyage — a devotion to discovering ourselves, the world around us, our strategies in it, and how our actions affect others. No matter where you are along your cultural competence trajectory, this post will encourage new learning for you. Developing our cultural competence requires a multi-pronged approach to learning and behavior change. I am reminded that one of the many ways we can think about building cultural competence, no matter our past experiences with it, is to envision the hard and soft skills.

I have found the Cultural Proficiency Continuum (Cross et al., 1989) as a valuable tool to understand the six elements of achieving cultural competency. They are:

To enhance cultural competence in the workplace, you will need a strategy. Begin with evaluating the current level of cultural competence and determine the knowledge, skills, and resources you can build upon. Identify whether you will need financial support to establish the change and what cost is required. Training curriculums are great; however, a program without real-life application defeats the purpose. Develop SMART goals and action steps to achieve them while indicating the core of your cultural competency strategy.

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