Meta-competency #1: Master Fear In Order To Operate Freely.
Meta-competency #2: See self and others with clarity within a given context, staying focused on the best interests of all involved.
Meta-competency #3: Manage and overcome incompatibilities wherever possible.
If you want to master your fears and relate with others more freely, there are certain things you need to be competent in and be good at. We call these the competencies which support the Three Meta-competencies, but we do use the term "competencies" loosely and in a descriptive sense meaning all things related to the skills, abilities, competencies, mindset and emotional intelligence needed to deliver this.
When confronted with a conflict between two groups our natural instinct is to ask how can I resolve this conflict and to start working on it right away. In order to actually achieve the resolution of conflict, however, it is first necessary to begin looking from within. We must suspend the natural desire to start dealing with a conflict immediately, and rather, start out by investigating the root cause, figure out what sparked this problem in the first place.
There is a natural process of working through the meta-competencies, and in that sense also the competencies that support them. In following this process you will then be able to effectively engage with the problem after having gained mastery over your fear, being able to see clearly and stay focused on the greater good of all involved. And in this way, you will find it much easier to manage and overcome the incompatibilities that exist. Here are the competencies and what they mean to us:
The competencies enabling you to master your fear in order to operate in freedom (the 1st meta-competency):
1stA) Being Present in the Moment, Owning It
If you are not wholeheartedly invested, you will check out when the going gets tough. In order to master your fear you need to be present, have a vision, a sense of purpose and know how that relates to where you fit into the bigger picture.
1stB) Principal Centric Leadership and Field-Independence
The following values can result in positive results even if that’s not immediately evident, so believe what may seem contradictory and don’t always chase short-term gains or try to please others. In most scenarios (specifically not military time sensitive ones) you should treat each individual situation as an independent scenario even though you will have examples of historical events sharing similarities to the current situation. Every intercultural experience should be greeted by a step back to evaluate the current situation in the current context.
1stC) Perseverance and Steadfastness
Persevere through difficulty and misunderstanding and realize that clarity will come later on. There is no need to demand all the answers immediately; there are advantages to enduring adversity, and to taking your time. You are on a journey, and that requires composure and self-control, acting with the long-term in mind rather than gratifying your desires of the moment. Holding back, even if you’re frustrated—resisting the impulse to correct somebody on the spot—will help you to stay engaged, master your fear, and to engage with others more freely and effectively.
1stD) Holism and Balance
As with the helicopter effect, a holistic approach is needed to avoid bouncing back and forth between new fads. This also requires your ability to balance in terms of the amount of time spent on issues. Can you move between heated, intense and light-hearted and humorous in order to weave a conversation together that eventually gets people unstuck?
1stE) Flexibility and Reframing
If you get it wrong, say so quickly and move on. Hold on to what you believe to be true and real, but be flexible in your approach and reframe your thinking when you hear something that challenges your previous perceptions, which you agree with.
The competencies supporting you to see clearly and stay focused on the greater good of all involved (the 2nd meta-competency):
2ndA) Optimism and Expectancy
Your ability to anticipate a positive interaction with different people of different cultures and that both sides can benefit from the exchange will drive your ability to journey well. Expectancy is different to expectations in this sense because your expectancy is fluid where expectations are set. You can therefore progress from one plateau to the next simply moving forward and knowing you will reach the next level and that you will continue your journey on a positive footing.
2ndB) Respect and the Ability To Suspend Judgment
Regardless of other’s inabilities to see clearly, everyone has a valuable contribution to make. For them to be included in the journey and to feel comfortable journeying with you, you must remain open-minded, respectful and allow people the space to contribute so that they feel you sincerely want to see others grow and that they can contribute without fear of judgement of their weaknesses or inabilities. “In this way you can be both a go-getter as well as a go-giver” as Dr. Gustav Gous says, helping others to grow and benefit from their interaction with you, just as you benefit from their input.
2ndC) Energy and Commitment
You must be willing to make sacrifices in your struggles with ICI, to pour yourself into it with all your energy, because you know that the end result will be worth it.
Competencies supporting you to manage and overcome incompatibilities wherever possible (the 3rd meta-competency):
3rdA) Others-Serving Orientation and Patience
Are you there to allow people to succeed? Are you a facilitator who will lead to the success of the journey as well as the outcome of the journey? There will be times when your patience is truly tested and you will need to continue to lead others to reach the end result, which may seem out of reach. Continually dealing with incompatibilities, especially those that cannot be overcome requires a level of servitude and a commitment to the long-term journey.
3rdB) Empathy and Compassion
Problems can be solved, but dilemmas need to be managed. True intercultural incompatibilities cannot always be overcome, which requires empathy and compassion when engaging with people at a deeper level in order to successfully manage them.
3rdC) Readiness To Forgive and To Be Forgiven
We all make mistakes, but are you able to forgive yourself and others? Being able to forgive others quickly, seeing it as an opportunity to learn and say “we messed up, but lets learn from it and move on” as quickly as possible is an important step in managing and overcoming incompatibilities. So is your ability to forgive yourself allowing you to learn from your mistakes and move on.
3rdD) Humility and Self-Confidence
It’s okay to NOT be SuperMan or WonderWoman. Rightly balancing humility and self-confidence is all about knowing what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at and not being afraid to articulate these. This of course also means not being afraid to admit when you make a mistake and owning up to it.
3rdE) Teachable Spirit and Lifelong Pursuit of Learning
One of the first things we teach is the importance of being a cultural learner. Regardless of your level of experience and the number of years you have been working with Inter-Cultural Intelligence, we all continue to learn and must be committed to this in the long-term. Cultures change and grow and so must we.
3rdF) Commitment to Excellence in Communication
Learn different styles of communication—direct and indirect—that are required to deal with incompatibilities and commit to communicating well.
These competencies undergird the Three Meta-competencies of ICI and are designed to help you build your Inter-Cultural Intelligence from the inside out.
1. Being field-independent
2. Sense of holism
3. Ability to reframe
To begin your cultural learning journey, Contact us or get our mini-ebook: Inter-Cultural Intelligence: From Surviving To Thriving in the Global Space.