How to Break the Pattern of Cultural Bias

Aug 04, 2021

Here at 3CP, our goal is to develop individuals and teams who have the capacity to lead culturally competent organizations. One of the biggest challenges we notice when working with individuals and leaders within businesses today is the struggle to break the pattern of cultural bias. Today we are going to share some easy and actionable tips for increasing diversity awareness and inclusion within your organization this year.

Ways To Change Your Mindset Of Inclusiveness

For both yourself and others within your organization, one of the biggest struggles is changing your mindset of inclusiveness with other cultures that we live among. Especially if you’ve spent most of your life and working career surrounded by individuals who come from a similar background to you, you may find you are automatically programmed to look at the world in a certain way. The first key to making this change is to recognize your bias and acknowledge how you are currently thinking about equity, leadership, and culture. Without taking the time to realize our current way of thinking, it’s impossible to make the changes we need to and influence others around us.

Inclusivity is far more than just hiring a racially diverse workforce, and instead, it’s a mindset that’s adopted within your business. Inclusion should be deeply embedded in any office culture, but unfortunately, this is not something we see in many businesses still. One of the toughest things about inclusion is that it can’t be measured in the same way as diversity often can. Companies today should be looking to amplify more voices, whether that’s in an internal newsletter or on your social media. To change your mindset, you need to hear more stories and let others be heard. Consider sharing the story of one employee in your business each week or month to help create more diversity awareness within your organization.

In order to change your mindset, you need to start by adopting a more open-minded outlook. Being open-minded can work in your favor in many ways, and you’ll find that you enjoy more engaging conversations and interactions every day in your office and in your personal life. By considering other people’s talents and backgrounds, you’ll find you can benefit from this during any project you work on. Just because someone doesn’t fit your idea of “normal,” it doesn’t mean they don’t have value to add to your organization.

How To Start Conversations With Others Who Do Have Biases

For leaders and employees today, it can often be tough engaging in conversations with others who do have biases. While some may very vocally share their opinions, others may not realize the underlying suggestions they are making in the way they speak about other cultures. One of the key areas we look at within equity, leadership, and culture is mindful communication, and you’ll want to lead by example in the way you speak to your team. When you are mindful of your tone of voice, the words you are saying, and how you direct your conversations, your employees will likely respond in the same way and act in a similar manner.

If you find yourself in a conversation with others who show biases, you want to find a way to bring this up with the other person without making them feel uncomfortable or ashamed. They may not realize how they are communicating, so ensure you don’t make them feel defensive or humiliated when pointing this out. The next time someone makes a comment based on a stereotype they have of women or someone from a particular background, we suggest that you specifically bring up the issue. Never make a general accusation of them being “sexist” or “racist” and instead focus on the sentence that showcased their bias. By forcing the person to look at the comment they made and give examples of why they think of someone in a certain way, they will start to look beyond their stereotypes.

How To Engage With Other Cultures

Engaging with other cultures is something that can add so much value and joy to our lives and working relationships. However, there are certain things to keep in mind when doing this to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable. We encourage you to learn the basics about different cultures and understand how communication works within different sections of the population. Some cultures find certain greetings to be completely acceptable, whereas, in others, your casual greeting could be very offensive. If you have a new team member who has relocated from overseas, take the time to understand how you can make them feel most comfortable in their new working environment.

As a business owner or leader within an organization, we encourage you to offer training to your employees about different cultures. If you are operating within a global marketplace or have a team you work alongside in another part of the world, it’s important everyone understands the etiquette for communicating with these teams. Oftentimes, individuals don’t know that how they are acting could be offensive, but with more training and education, we can start to minimize these issues. 

When working with teams elsewhere in the world or team members from a religion different from your own, be very mindful of their holidays and days off they may need to observe. Instead of assuming something about a new team member, it’s always best to have a private conversation and just ask if there is anything you can do to assist them. They’ll appreciate this courtesy and be more likely to communicate with you in the future about their needs openly.

At 3CP, we help individuals or teams to focus on awareness, inclusion, and equity, allowing them to lead culturally competent organizations. We are passionate about helping individuals with all of the challenges we’ve described above and can help guide your organization to improve inclusion within your workplace. For more information about how we can help improve your company culture and diversity awareness, don’t hesitate to contact our team today to get started. 

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