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The Role Of Intuition In Developing Cultural Competency Skills

Written by: Tolulope Okudolo, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Why do we like to box things up?

I get it helps with organization, focus and clarity in some aspects.

However, like in all things, when we are too rigid, then we tend to lose view of what’s most important especially when it comes to communicating.

Cultural competence is one of the most talked about communication skills for both native and non-native speakers of English.

With all its different ideologies, it’s easy to accept the different silos communication styles have been boxed into. However, this can be a misnomer in a global environment where most people identify as global citizens

Gone are the days of one citizenship /one culture.

In my case for example, I was brought up by African parents in the UK and now live in Canada. I have imbibed the communication cultures of three different continents and countries.

My cultural communication style has been influenced by all my identities and heritage so you can’t box it– it’s a blended form and it’s the same for a lot of people today.

A non-native speaker relating to others outside of his/her culture is required to decipher different meanings /phrases /body language in order to appropriately respond to the message being delivered.

It’s no mystery that those who work in a global context sometimes make errors of judgment due to differences in cultural communication styles. Whole articles have been written about hidden innuendoes in different western phrases versus what they really mean, and this baffles non-native speakers who may be used to a more direct way of communicating.

They try to understand these boxed up concepts and relate to others based on logical reasoning. We have also been warned by Chimamanda Adiche, who decries the concept of a single story and the dangers of cultural stereotyping (and rightly so).

So, how do we balance logical reasoning with avoiding the dangers of a single story in terms of cultural competency?

The fact remains we will always come across different cultures- new, blended, interlaced, or specific and in our global world the onus is on leaders and people managers to communicate effectively, powerfully and empathetically with the all types of cultures in the workplace and beyond

It all goes back to unearthing that deep seated quality we were all born with- Our intuition.

What is the intuition and what activates it?

It is based on an inner feeling that enables us to make decisions without logical reasoning, and represents wisdom that we can not often explain. This power of inner guidance when accessed, can provide us with unexplained clarity in day-to-day interpersonal relationships and its power is activated by active listening, empathy and a genuine striving for cooperation.

Research shows that Managers that merge intuition with logic consistently surpass their competitors in terms of productivity. This shows the power of combining both to impact your communication skills.

Taking the time to check in with your inner guidance while interacting with others helps you advance your cultural competency and communication skills, because you are better placed to respond in the moment, be flexible and it gives you the wisdom to navigate the potential communication minefields in a global workplace or environment.

How do you access your intuition?

So, while you are busy honing your cultural competency skills, or deciding whether someone has a direct or indirect communication style, while you are trying to read between the lines of innuendos based on your learnt knowledge of the communication style of specific cultures, take the time to check in with your intuition before jumping to conclusions- Ask- what’s your gut feeling saying in this instance? Stop and feel the energy in the conversation. You will be able to sense what may not be evident even though you may not be able to explain it and tailor your responses accordingly. The more you practice and give that space the more you can hear/access it.

It represents your inner wisdom and in addition to your knowledge, it will also help to give you a complete understanding of the different styles you encounter whether they fit the boxes or not, and the ability to respond appropriately to them.

A combination of intuition and logic is what we need today to be truly effective communicators. When you actively listen, ask appropriate questions and connect with your intuition, you’ll find out that your responses and attitude will come from a place of naturalness, genuineness and empathy which will be instinctively felt by the other party and will ultimately help to build those interpersonal relationships you need to progress in your leadership role.

If you’d like help with advancing your English communication skills as a non- native people manager/leader, schedule a call with Tolu Okudolo or visit

Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Tolulope Okudolo, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Tolu Okudolo is an advocate for the importance of mindset changes in advancing the communication skills of international people managers & leaders. Having worked through challenges as an introvert and a woman of color, she discovered that the precursor to success is mindset and intuitive alignment and adapted different strategies to connect to her real self, and unlock her potential as she climbed the ladder into leadership positions in HR in the corporate world. Even though Tolu is a native English speaker, she understands the challenges faced by and similarities between introverts and non-native professionals in a global world.

She has since devoted her time to helping both introverted and extroverted non native professionals discover their self-limiting blocks and leverage their strengths with the goal of advancing their English communication skills. Her approach uses mindset shifts and cognitive reframing to magnify communication horizons and impact roles and careers positively. She is the founder of Magnifying Horizons a language coaching enterprise that delivers online customized Business English coaching programs to international people managers and leaders all over the world. Her mission: Communicating without constraints.



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