Why is cultural intelligence so important right now?

The pandemic crisis has shown, more than ever, that leaders of organisations need emotional intelligence and empathy as much as they do strategic skill. For years, coaching experts have extolled the virtues of building our ‘emotional quotient’ or EQ, as opposed to IQ, and last year was when this really came to the fore. But a further dimension is emerging among inclusive leaders – the power of cultural intelligence.

Dr Sandra Upton is vice president for global diversity practice at the Cultural Intelligence Center, which has developed a way of measuring and developing cultural intelligence both at an individual and organisational level. She argues that ‘CQ’ picks up where EQ takes off. “When we talk about intercultural competence we talk about awareness and sensitivity,” she explains. “These are important, but don’t guarantee our effectiveness. CQ is the capability to function and relate effectively in culturally diverse situations.”

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