KnowledgeWorkx developed this concept of Three Meta-Competencies to quantify the core essence of what we need to learn in order to become Inter-Culturally Intelligent.
We looked at the three most important things that affect behavior and how certain meta-competencies influence what we do in an intercultural environment. We then prioritized them to help you learn how to engage in a more meaningful way.
Meta-competency #1: Master Fear In Order To Operate Freely.
Managing one's sense of fear, be that apprehension, ambiguity, nervousness, or actual fear, is the first challenge when entering an intercultural environment.
If we are not able to master our fear we cannot engage in freedom. Fear consumes our thoughts, becomes the captor of our ideas, and prevents us from being able to listen to others carefully and meaningfully. It hinders us from handling conflict constructively. The presence of any level of fear tints our vision, makes our lenses foggy, disturbs our transmitters, preventing us from effectively engaging with our audience. Fear prevents us from understanding.
Mastering any level of fear with the moment is therefore incredibly important in seeing the situation for what it really is so that we can use this ability to anticipate, correctly interpret and adjust to the culturally defined behavioral habits of others.
Emotional Intelligence is a good starter point for beginning to master your fears in intercultural environments, but without Inter-Cultural Intelligence, you are fighting a losing battle. How do you presume to master your fears when you are in a foreign intercultural environment where you have no idea of what’s going on, you don’t speak the language, the signs don’t make sense, you’ve never been there before, the words people speak don’t mean the same things you take them to mean, the non-verbal communication makes no sense, the rituals are foreign. All the Emotional Intelligence in the world won’t allow you to be truly successful in mastering your fears or apprehensions in intercultural environments that are foreign to you.
It is important to bring Inter-Cultural Intelligence into the mix and to use self-awareness, self-motivation, and self-regulation in being able to name your fear. In intercultural environments, mastery over fear involves channeling your emotion, not suppressing or ignoring it.
When children learn how to manage their emotions, they are first taught to name that emotion. Mastering any level of fear should be handled in the same way. Naming your fear, apprehension, ambiguity, or nervousness is the first step in being able to manage it. So if you feel nervous, say that you are nervous and why you believe you feel that way. As you learn to recognize the emotion much quicker, you will also learn to recognize what it might do to you and you learn to channel it.
Meta-competency #2: See with clear self-awareness and others-awareness within a given context, maintaining focus on the greater good of all involved.
If your fear is mastered, you will be able to see clearly and as you begin to see through engaging with people in the process, you start to see the future that is beneficial for all parties involved. Let's assume you’re still in a win-win situation as part of moving people forward. You see clearly, you stay focused on the greater good of everybody involved. That’s the second piece. We often find that unless you master your fear, you cannot stay focused and you will eventually not see clear enough because your fears start to trip you up. If fear pulls you back you start to focus on your agenda, your default way of doing things.
Seeing clearly and staying focused on the best interests of all involved is the 2nd meta-competency. But why is that important? Ultimately your whole focus is on allowing, creating a situation, a journey where everybody can succeed in that moment. Of course, the reality is that sometimes that means that certain people have to get off the bus, that’s ok too, but your energy, your intent is focused on the great good of everyone. If you are master of your fear you can then deploy the competencies you need to practice the 2nd meta-competency.
Meta-competency #3: Manage and overcome incompatibilities wherever possible.
The first two together will drive your ability to become an artist in successfully managing and engaging with the incompatibilities, which is the 3rd meta-competency. Take note that sometimes you can’t overcome them, but only manage them.
NOTE: You cannot practice the 3rd meta-competency successfully if you don’t have the first two meta-competencies under your belt.
This last competency, managing incompatibilities, has to do with different viewpoints. For this, we use the Three Colors of Worldview and the 12 Dimensions of Culture to provide some structure toward identifying and addressing incompatibilities effectively.
Developing the first two meta-competencies prior to the 3rd meta-competency is also important because, as you learn to manage incompatibilities, you must also practice utilizing a language that allows people to quantify incompatibilities where necessary. Sometimes you can just steer people away from them. But we must learn to quantify incompatibilities in a language that is non-threatening. The language of the Three Colors of Worldview and the language of the 12 Dimensions of Culture also helps people in a non-emotional manner to talk about differences and to talk about theming incompatibilities. Very often people discover that those incompatibilities are not necessarily incompatible just seem to be so initially. And the person who practices the ability to master incompatibilities and to overcome them is typically the most ICI person in the room and can turn that into opportunities to leverage diversity to leverage the difference between people.
Each of the three meta-competencies of Inter-Cultural Intelligence is supported by a further six competencies that will allow you to develop your ability to become Inter-Culturally Intelligent.
To begin your culture learning journey, Contact us or get our mini-ebook: Inter-Cultural Intelligence: From Surviving To Thriving in the Global Space.