Any type of stereotyping in the workplace can be detrimental. They are quite harmful and limiting not only to those who are stereotyped, but also to the rest of the employees who work in that organization.

Breaking down, recognizing and eliminating stereotypes begins with dialogue. Conversation reduces bias because we learn more about each other and reach understanding. Conversation reduces biases by educating us on misinformation and it limits the spreads of bias.

Just imagine, if every single person eliminated one stereotype from their consciousness, it would not continue to be perpetuated and would eventually vanish.

Personal steps one can take to identify and eliminate stereotypes.

  • Respect and appreciate others’ differences. It would be boring if everyone looked the same.
  • When you come across people who are different, view them as flowers in a garden. Each individual is different, unique, yet at the same time and in many ways, quite similar.
  • Consider what all people have in common, a lot more than you may realize. We all want a good life, and have common human needs and desires. And we all face challenges to achieve them.
  • Realize that if a person looks different than you, chances are that you probably also look foreign to him or her.
  • When tempted to make a snap judgment about someone, ask yourself, how can I judge a person I hardly know?
  • Avoid making assumptions or creating labels based on superficial traits, like skin or hair color. Someone who looks like an immigrant to you may actually come from a family that has been here longer than yours.
  • Develop empathy for others. Try to walk in their shoes and imagine how difficult it might be. Realize that your way or the other person’s way of thinking or doing something is one of many ways. It is not wrong or right, but just different.
  • Educate yourself. There is plenty of information on the internet. Or just ask a person, many love to talk and share about themselves and their culture.
  • Reject negative labels and make it a point to pro-actively encourage others to do the same.