This is counter-productive for the work environment and often leads to workplace conflict. In fact, managers and supervisors can ill-afford to have this situation continue in the workplace. The following questions are things to consider when preparing to have conversations that may have racial overtones to them. This is a self-examination process and individuals must move at their own pace when asking themselves these questions.
- Do I check my assumptions about people who are different from me?
- Do I talk to people as individuals and not as a part of a specific racial or ethnic group?
- When making assumptions about how people behave, what are my assumptions based on? Are any of my personal interactions affected by a stereotype that I hold?
- If I have had a negative interaction with someone from a particular racial or ethnic group, am I holding that interaction against another?
- If I am a manager or supervisor, am I comfortable with differences in race or ethnicity? If not, how does this affect the way I manage or supervise?
- As a manager or supervisor, am I skilled at recognizing issues in the workplace that may be related to race or ethnicity?
- Can I have an honest conversation with someone of a different racial or ethnic background about my assumptions? If not, why not?
- Do I interact with people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds only in the workplace?
- What is my biggest fear when I am talking to someone who is of a different race or ethnicity?
- What level of risk am I willing to take in order to authentically address issues of race/ethnicity?
Hubbard & Revo-Cohen, Inc. (HRC) is a human resources consulting and technology firm that specializes in workforce diversity, sexual harassment prevention, strategic planning, organizational development, equitable compensation, training and Web based risk management software.
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