June 2023


For several years, I have been involved as a lecturer for the course “Intercultural Competence” at the Ludwigsburg University of Public Administration and Finance. I find it very forward-looking that students deal with the promotion of intercultural competences already at the beginning of their studies. In this way, they develop respect and tolerance towards other cultures and ways of life and contribute to an inclusive society in which diversity is valued and differences are respected.

For managers in particular, dealing with people with different cultural backgrounds and perspectives is an important prerequisite for being successful in a team. The team does not necessarily have to belong to an international company, as more than one in four employed people in Germany has a migration background. According to the Migration Report of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, 22.3 million people with a migration background lived in Germany in 2021, which corresponds to 27.3 per cent of the population in private German households.

There are many reasons why intercultural competence is so important for managers.

Promoting an inclusive work environment

First, it enables the creation of an inclusive work environment where all team members have equal opportunities and feel valued. By understanding and respecting the different cultural backgrounds of their staff, team leaders can ensure that no one is disadvantaged because of their cultural background.

Effective communication

Secondly, cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts, especially in communication. Intercultural competence helps team leaders overcome these barriers by understanding different communication styles, language nuances and non-verbal signals. They are able to convey clear and concise information and ensure that messages are correctly understood by all team members.

Conflict resolution

Thirdly, conflicts may arise in diverse teams due to different cultural values, norms and practices. Intercultural competence enables leaders to recognize, understand and resolve conflicts constructively. They are able to consider alternative perspectives and find compromises that are acceptable to all parties.

Promoting innovation and creativity

Finally, the promotion of innovation and creativity must not be neglected. Different cultural backgrounds bring with them different ways of thinking and experiences. By developing intercultural competence, team leaders can use this diversity to foster innovation and creativity in the team.

In summary, intercultural competence is of great importance. I will tell you how best to promote these skills in the next blog post.