Friday, December 10, 2010

Engaging stereotypes in the workplace: “diminish the stereotypes and realize the change!”

Stereotypes are propelled by generalization of people, culture and places, e.g. Indian people like hot or pungent food. It may be true in the general sense of things, but there are those Indian people who have no interest for food that has the mother-in-law masala sting. It is natural for people to operate with stereotypes based upon their experience and their interactions with the other or lack thereof, but we must challenge stereotypes that diminish, devour and destroy people.
As you engage your everyday world, where are your stereotypes present, active and rampant? Get introspective and reflective and do a personal audit of the way you treat people and the way you react based upon the pre-conceived ideas, beliefs and biases that you have learned, inherited and established.

Moving into action:
Having introspected how do you move towards change?

• Start deconstructing thinking patterns, points of view and outlooks on life, that are informed by unhealthy stereotypes which break people down. Now in the context of meaningful relationships start reconstructing healthy realistic outlooks that promote well being.

• Ask yourself how you would like to be treated? Now, ask your colleague/s how they would like to be treated. Once you’ve established this, start applying the following golden principle: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you, but more importantly honor and treat others as they would like to be treated.”

• Stephen R. Covey in the “7 Habits of highly effective people” states, “seek first to understand then be understood.” This is not easy to do, but definitely worthwhile since it humanizes our interactions. Seek to understand the person as a priority, before you expect the person to understand you.

• Apply your listening skills and openness to the person whom you work with. Be present and active as you seek to listen to and understand the other.
Allow people to live beyond the boxes and mental prisons we place them in. By doing so we will be liberating ourselves and others!

Managing Partner
indiAfrique training & development
Office of Reconciliation Diversity & International Affairs
In collaboration with Young & Able
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Suite 160|Dunkeld West Centre 281 Jan Smuts Ave|Dunkeld Johannesburg|Gauteng|South Africa

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