At worst, that type of conversation can quickly get awkward, or worse, heated.
Any communication you initiate must be developed for the individual you're dealing with. With Emotional Intelligence you recognize that people respond differently to different communication styles. You must also recognize how your own emotions may get in the way.
Using EI concepts. you must remain flexible and adaptable while you sand for your principles.
That being said, when addressing racial prejudice in the workplace, I offer the following suggestions:
- Get the full story.
- Choose the right time and place
- Certain comments require immediate attention. For example, do not allow a co-worker to make someone else feel uncomfortable with racially charged comments. If they are not immediately addressed shows tacit support.
- The most productive conversations about race are on a one-to-one basis where people feel more comfortable.
- It is a good idea to prepare the person for this sensitive topic.
- Make sure it is understood that your goal is to be helpful.
- The goal is to get them listening while minimizing the tendency to get defensive.
- At times, we've all been quick to judge people or situations based on appearances, without details.
- Be open to hearing your communication co-worker's true opinions, and acknowledge their feelings.
- Ask questions like: "Is that how you meant it?" Or, "Am I missing something?"
- Listen carefully, and speak respectfully.
- Admit your own failures.
Of course a proactive approach is needed. We recommend taking a course and have your team leaders subscribe to one of our plans. Click here to compare our plans. To save costs per employee, we have 5 and 10 employee subscription programs. If you need more, contact us to prepare a custom plan.