How can I be more inclusive at work?
Our country is going through a monumental change. People from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life are coming together to build more inclusive and fair society. And while it will take time and effort, it’s important to know that you can contribute to this positive development, too. Here are some practical tips on how you can be more inclusive at work.
- Challenge stereotypes. Our own background and culture inform our perception of others — and oftentimes, that results in stereotypes. Yet reducing someone to a stereotype in your mind means you’re not perceiving the whole person and can therefore never value them for who they are. Medium advises asking yourself questions like, “What do I expect from the other person?” and “Are there any stereotypical aspects in these expectations?” in order to challenge stereotypes and start seeing the other person as an individual.
- Listen and observe. It’s all too easy to think you know what someone’s opinion or abilities are going to be based on superficial observations. But you can’t really know what another person is thinking based on how they’re dressed or speak. Instead of letting assumptions rule your interactions, really listen and observe the other person. Give them the respect they deserve and allow yourself the opportunity to form an unbiased opinion of them.
- Use inclusive language. There are many ways we use binary language when we could be more inclusive. For example, instead of saying “he or she,” you can use the non-binary “they.” The GLAAD Media Reference Guide provides clear recommendations on how to use more inclusive language.
- Respect other people’s contributions. One of the benefits of a diverse workplace is that people from many different backgrounds come together to work towards a common goal. In order to collaborate effectively, everyone’s voice needs to be heard. That’s why it’s critical to always respect other people’s contributions — whether that’s an opinion or work output.
If you take these tips to heart and incorporate them into your behavior, you’ll soon find yourself becoming more inclusive. And by doing so, you’ll be in a better position to truly understand the value of your colleagues’ contributions.
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