Canadian Lawyer

November 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 44 of 51 43 the cultures we are exposed to, and these learned ideas become integral to our personal value system. To connect across cultures with people of diverse backgrounds, we first need to understand the values that mould our own lens of the world. The question is not what you look at but what you see, in the words of Henry David Thoreau. Gaiti Rabbani is a cultural intelligence specialist, an executive advisor, people and culture, and founder of Rabbani Collective, a company that enables businesses to harness the potential of their people through custom learning and development programs. we can see that the expression of these values can differ. The iceberg model highlights why we cannot judge a new culture purely on what we see. Instinctively we know that there's more to a situation than we initially perceive. Take a moment to consider what happens when someone's behaviour goes against your cultural norms. Did you perceive the other person's behaviour as unacceptable? Disrespectful? Was your perception true? It is essential to take time to uncover the beliefs that underlie the behaviour. Developing your cultural understanding offers a pathway to navigating confusing situations and making appropriate adjust- ments to connect with other people of different cultures. Let's go back to the example of eye contact. There's a tendency to confuse cultural preferences with personality traits. Could the person holding direct eye contact be perceived as rude and intimi- dating in Asian culture? Could the person consciously offering a fleeting glance be seen as untruthful or lacking confidence to a Canadian? You don't need to have an international remit to be faced with culturally complex situations. Our cultural narratives start taking form during childhood, from the multiple layers of culture we experience in society today. We learn the norms of

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian Lawyer - November 2022