Cultural competency means that you appreciate differences among people.   These differences may include age, gender, race, political beliefs, and others. In today’s global economy employers know it is important to have culturally competent workers. Being culturally competent is important, but it is not always easy. Each of us has values and traditions that affect how we think, act, and make judgments.   In order to work well with others, you must respect your coworkers even if they are different from you.  You can use differences to create a strong work team.

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In order to work well in a diverse workplace it is important to understand your own cultural values first.  Your cultural background shapes what you believe.  When you become aware of your own beliefs you can begin to understand and respect the beliefs of others.

Answer the following questions.  Then, try to find a friend or classmate who comes from a different culture.  Even people from the same country often have cultural differences depending on the region where they live.  Share your answers with each other.  What did you have in common with your partner? What differences did you find?

1. Where did you grow up?

2.  Describe how your community regarded teachers.  What about supervisors?

3. What messages were you given about people who were different from you – messages from family, peers, the media, and others?

4. How have your background experiences influenced your perceptions of other cultures that you encounter in your daily life?

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People who work directly with the public must be respectful to all types of people regardless of their background or physical attributes.  For example, a bank teller encounters people from different backgrounds every day. Bank tellers help bank customers make deposits and withdrawals at the bank.   To learn more click here.