To understand another we first have to understand ourselves, and to do that we need to reflect on our history.
Cultural Perspective can be defined as:
“Cultural perspective refers to the way that individuals are shaped by their environments as well as social and cultural factors. Such factors include a person’s nationality, race and gender.” Reference.com
Each of us comes with a unique story that shapes who we are and how we see the world. Where we grew up, the size and makeup of our families, our ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and our educational background all contribute to our world view. Two people who grew up next door to each other can have radically different cultural experiences and points of view. Biological siblings raised together have different cultural perspectives from having different gender identities, and being interested in different things.
Self-awareness about the origins of our beliefs gives us the understanding to appreciate the origins of the beliefs of others. We learn to receive people as part of a story that has brought them to where they are today and what their future potential might be, rather than a predetermined set of assumptions based on stereotypes from external cues.
Three steps you can take to cultivate cultural perspective are:
- Participate in professional development training that can fill in the gaps of your knowledge and understanding.
- Be open-minded and in relationship to the people around you for who they are and not just what you may want or need from them.
- Study yourself and how you react in different situations. Take note of how you are when you are succeeding in your relationships and cultivate those ways of being.
Cultivating cultural perspective is an important step in developing intelligent and agile social skills that create value in our organizations. Workplaces rely on our ability to forge strong relationships, both internally and externally, to foster collaborative creativity, attract talent, retain clients and grow support.
About the Author
Alesha Hayes is the Business Development Coordinator for the Indigenous Perspectives Society –Creating Excellence through Training and Leadership. A non-indigenous ally, Alesha was born and raised in Secwepemc territory and now enjoys life in beautiful Lkwungen territory on southern Vancouver Island. For more information on Cultural Perspectives Training email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.ipsociety.ca