Intercultural Competence: Another Tool to Develop Mindful Leadership

Embarking on the journey to become a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) has been an exciting and fulfilling experience. For those unfamiliar with the IDI, it assesses intercultural competence, defined as “the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities.” Allow me to provide some context. Think of the IDI as a roadmap that indicates our current location on the map. It’s neither good nor bad; it simply informs us where we stand. Similar to cities like San Diego, New York, or Chicago, none is ideologically superior to the others; they are just different points on the map. Understanding our current position on the map gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we want to go. The IDI offers a development plan to guide us in educating ourselves or designing experiences that propel us to the next stage of our intercultural journey. While the choice to embark on this journey is optional, it presents an opportunity for personal and professional growth. You might wonder, “How does this connect to mindful leadership?” Let me tell you. As a mindful leader, I consistently emphasize the importance of self-awareness in effective leadership. How we present ourselves to others and how others experience us are crucial considerations. Unfortunately, many of us fail to inquire about these aspects, leaving us unaware. In a world that continually evolves, the demand for leaders who comprehend and wholeheartedly embrace differences is more critical than ever, especially for nonprofit organizations. In the current era of diversity, equity, and inclusion, these concepts are not just buzzwords; they signify a paradigm shift. Effective leadership now extends beyond meeting financial targets; it involves fostering a culture that thrives on embracing differences. Numerous studies underline that cultural competence is not merely a feel-good concept; it significantly contributes to organizational health, a vital aspect for nonprofits in all contexts. You might wonder, “Great, but how do we achieve cultural competence?” This is where mindfulness and intention take center stage. It requires a strategic and practiced approach, as cultural competence is not a passive trait that magically appears; it’s a deliberate journey that hones skills. Much like leadership, it takes time and practice. Similar to leadership itself, cultural competence demands thoughtful planning and continuous effort. It’s not a checkbox on a to-do list; rather, it’s an ongoing process that requires our presence, open-mindedness, and a willingness to learn. So, here’s to the mindful leaders of the future – those who recognize the significance of cultural competence, embrace diversity with open arms, and understand that success transcends mere numbers. It’s about crafting a workplace where everyone can not only exist but thrive. I extend an invitation for you to join me in exploring the rich tapestry of cultural competence and mindful leadership. Let’s move beyond understanding differences; let’s celebrate them. After all, a workplace that values diversity is destined for greatness. By the way, I am proud to announce that I have received my certification and am now an IDI Qualified Administrator. Follow me on social media @drtheresarickekiely on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. #mindfulleadership #nonprofitleadership Watch for my upcoming book on mindful nonprofit leadership coming soon!