Prejudging Employees

Huh?I got an up close look at prejudice this week. Honestly, it shocked me. I tend to live in a world where people are annoyed by personalities, work ethics, and habits, NOT by race, sexuality, or religion. As I contemplated the whole idea of prejudice, it gave me a chance to reflect on how far perception can be from reality when a person looks at another person from the I/It perspective.

In a previous post I referred to I/It I/Thou and how recognition comes from seeing people for who they are (I/Thou). Prejudice is the extreme opposite, functioning from the I/It, without an inkling that another person is involved.

While I don’t imagine that any of my readers are operating from such a hate-filled perspective, I know that we all jump to conclusions about who people are, what they want, and what they are capable of, without really knowing them.

Try these on for size:
“Engineers are analytical.”
“Construction workers are tough and rough.”
“Gen Y’ers are individualistic.”

It could be me saying any of these. How about you? Do you believe any of these stereotypes? It is easy to do. You can probably find statistics or studies to support them all. You can also find thousands of people who are exceptions.

When it comes to interacting with staff, managers are busy. Looking for common characteristics in people is a way of being efficient. Generalizations can help you guess what people want and need. And it’s okay, good even, to a point. We just have to remember to go further, to get to know the person.

Copyright 2007 Cindy Ventrice


My name is Cindy Ventrice. I am the author of the best-selling book Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works and the companion guide Recognition Strategies That Work.

My work has been quoted in The New York Times, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Workforce Magazine, and Tim Sanders' book The Likeability Factor.

Visit my website today!

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