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ways that leaders can help develop an organizational culture

It is more than being respectful of the cultures represented in the service or even the community. It is much more than awareness of cultural differences, more than knowledge of the customs and values of those different to our own.

Cultural competence is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures. Cultural competence encompasses

  • being aware of one’s own world view
  • developing positive attitudes towards cultural differences
  • gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and world views
  • developing skills for communication and interaction across cultures.[3]

Cultural proficiency “requires more than becoming culturally aware or practising tolerance”. Rather, it is the ability to “identify and challenge one’s own cultural assumptions, values and beliefs, and to make a commitment to communicating at the cultural interface”.[4]

Principles relevant to cultural competence include fostering secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships, partnerships, high expectations and equity and respect for diversity.

We are all are born belonging to a culture, which is not only influenced by traditional practices, heritage and ancestral knowledge, but also by the experiences, values and beliefs of individual families and communities. Respecting diversity means valuing and reflecting the practices, values and beliefs of families and communities.