We all have biases. It's a natural phenomenon created by our life experiences. What's important is how we handle these biases. We can choose to stereotype and apply our biases to an entire group of people or we can respect the differences people have and accept that others are different. When we accept and respect differences we strengthen the workplace. Diversity is here to stay and if we accept that others are different and avoid stereotyping then our personal and professional lives will be more productive and fulfilling.
Respect is the most important word when it comes to relationships in the workplace. We all understand that others are different than us and that we need to respect these differences. With respect, the workplace can function at a very high level of productivity. Diverse background and viewpoints strengthen the quality, innovation and productivity of a workplace, so it makes business sense to accept this diversity. While you may not be able to avoid what you think, you can control what you do.
Here are some ways to show respect and control your biases:
When you encounter someone you might have a bias about make an effort to get to know more about them. This is a great way to show respect and broaden your viewpoint as well.
Show tolerance toward other viewpoints. Our co-workers have had completely different life experiences than our own. We need to accept these viewpoints as different and show tolerance.
You probably would expect that others in the workplace would respect you and your views. Make sure that you remember the golden rule - do unto others as you would have them do to you.
Remember that diversity is a business strength. Diversity strengthens the ability of our business to succeed. This alone, if nothing else, is a compelling reason to respect co-workers.
Don't let your fear of difference get in the way of acceptance at work. Remember that you alone create fear and you alone have the power to quell that fear.
The most effective way to a productive diverse workplace is to respect and accept differences. We all have biases that have been developed through our life experiences. This is a natural result of these experiences. It's how choose to handle these biases that counts.