Stereotyping is a bias, an inflexible belief about a person, group or culture. Apparently one of the biggest underlying elements that can tear-down the cohesiveness’s in a diverse multicultural workforce is stereotyping.
Another definition provided by Stedman Graham in in his book Diversity Leaders not Labels suggest a stereotype might be an exaggerated image or distorted truth about a person or group, allowing for little or no social variation or individual difference, usually passed along by peers, family members or the media.
To avoid further erosion in the workplace, here are just several steps every person can take to eliminate stereotyping.
- Avoid making assumptions about people or creating labels based on superficial characteristics. This could be skin or hair colour, religion, etc.
- A person who may look like an immigrant to you, may come from a family that has been here for many generations.
- When making quick judgments, ask yourself how can you do that when you do not even know that person.
- Respect and appreciate other people’s differences. Just imagine if all the people looked and acted the same. Simple boring!
- Become self aware of your bias thinking. This often is a first step to examine personal points of view without hard facts.
- Develop empathy for others. Just imagine how difficult it is for someone who is new to the country, everything from crossing busy streets, catching the transit to how to properly greet the opposite sex.
- Educate yourself about different cultures. Go on the internet or simply ask the person.
Eliminating stereotyping needs to be dealt right away because otherwise bias thinking will erode the entire organization. Having cultural harmony in the workplace is not only good for the employees, but also for the bottom line.