It has long been known that intelligence has more than just one name. Psychology distinguishes many types of intelligence, and each of them can be defined in various ways. Using the common understanding of “intelligence”, we are quite easily able to determine whether we are dealing with an intelligent person or not (or at least we often think so). However, if we apply the question of intelligence on a professional and business level, it may turn out to be much more complex. As it often turns out, high level of IQ is not everything.
Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when the word “intelligence” comes up, is capacity – verbal, numerical or simply related to certain expertise. This is called academic or school intelligence and is most often defined by using the IQ indicator. In other situations, we can talk about practical intelligence, or the ability to deal with various objects, and at other times, about social intelligence (ability to cope within a social environment) or emotional (related to our inner processes, naming and expressing them in a proper way). Each of these types is undoubtedly important in the pursuit of professional success, but in today’s globalized world more and more often, yet another type of intelligence is being spoken about. It is, no less important, cultural intelligence.
What is cultural intelligence?
The simplest definition of cultural intelligence can be understood as the capability to relate and work effectively across cultures. It manifests itself, among other, through:
- ability to perceive cultural differences,
- ability to an accurate interpretation of these differences,
- using the knowledge and insights in these differences to overcome barriers related to cultural diversity.
Interestingly, the research carried out by psychologists on people working in culturally diverse environments proved that
a high IQ and well-developed emotional intelligence do not necessarily go hand in hand with cultural intelligence.
As it turned out, managers and businessmen who were successful on home markets became much less effective when they came to work in culturally diverse environments.
Why is it worth developing cultural intelligence?
Cultural intelligence in international business appears therefore as a necessity for fruitful collaboration with people from other nationalities. Some of the benefits this provides are:
- increased motivation to learn more about the culture they interact with;
- increased efficiency in the work performance with representatives of other cultures;
- decreased risk in creation of communication barriers;
- evasion of stereotypical perceptions of other communities;
- increase of the effectiveness when doing business abroad and working in international teams.
How can we develop our cultural intelligence?
The road to developing cultural sensitivity and competence is not the simplest however the acquisition of certain basics significantly affects the success in professional relationships with foreigners. To be successful in international business interactions, requires not only theoretical knowledge but also a lot of practice. Learn more about CQ.