Thur Tools and Tips: Improving Cultural Competence

This week, we’ll be sharing a few tips on improving cultural competence.  This is a crucial part of our globalized workplaces, and a key for companies and individuals who what to stay on the cutting edge.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Recognize the worldview of the individuals around you. Culture is not limited to skin color, ethnicity or country. It is far deeper. Learn about the individuals and cultures represented in  your workplace. This will help your work team function most effectively.images
  2.  Get to know your patients’ cultures. Don’t assume you already know their cultures based on their last name or other prejudice. Optimize the short time you have with your patients to learn about them and complete the task at hand.
  3. Determine your cultural effectiveness.  How well do you understand culture and cross-cultural research? Do your homework and brush up on some of the latest research.  Look for strengths and weaknesses of your own worldview based on psychological and sociological studies.
  4. Make your patients feel “at home.” If possible, your staff should reflect your area’s cultural makeup and understand the cultures represented.
  5. Conduct culturally sensitive evaluations, and learn about your patients expectations and preferences.  Don’t treat cases like a factory worker treats a broken machine. Think of the human behind the physical ailment.
  6.   Be willing to learn by making mistakes. You won’t  be able to do it 100% perfectly all the time. Use failure as an opportunity for learning.
  7.  Attend conferences outside of your discipline once in a while to learn more about what’s happening in the arena of cross-cultural competence.
  8. Expand your horizons and interact with groups of people who are outside of your cultural or work bubble. Joining clubs can be a great way to do this if you have a little spare time.
  9.  Find out what resources your department has to help you learn more about other cultures and worldviews. Set aside some time for learning.

We guarantee if you take these steps, you will be on your way towards cross-cultural competence. These are not the only ways to develop cross-cultural competence, but they are a great start. Developing cross-cultural competence will help you avoid miscommunications  and misunderstandings that could be very costly.

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