Accepting differences

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Accepting differences

Out of discord comes the sweetest harmony. For this reason, when you bring any group of people together for the first time, you have the potential for misunderstanding and conflict.

However, these differences can — when well managed — lead to better performance by individuals, teams and organizations. Consider your own workplace for a moment. Are you fortunate enough to work somewhere that doesn't just accept people's differences but actively celebrates them?

Or does it sometimes feel as if distrust and prejudice are part of the culture? The chances are your organization falls somewhere in the middle, and there may be room for improvement. In this article, we'll explore why it's important to accept other people, and how you Accepting differences encourage your team members to welcome diversity.

We'll help you Accepting differences identify when their behavior toward one another is unacceptable, and offer ways to support people in speaking up about it. When you accept someone, you acknowledge and welcome him or her into your environment, regardless of whether you share his cultural values, characteristics or experiences.

You see the differences between you as a simple fact, take him for who he is, and move forward together with your work. To be accepting, you need to consciously practice understanding and empathy — the ability to put yourself in another person's shoes and see things from her perspective. This comes easily and naturally for some people.

For others, it can be a challenge in situations that are uncomfortable or unfamiliar. Why Does Acceptance Matter? Acceptance is essential in the increasingly diverse and globalized workplaces of the 21st century. Team members will often differ in age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, worldview, experience, religion, education, background, and many other aspects besides.

Organizations that welcome diversity can be more successful than more uniform ones. Diversity alone is not enough, however. In order to excel, people need to accept and welcome an array of viewpoints, ideas, traits, and backgrounds, and to encourage their colleagues to do the same.

Researchers have found that encouraging acceptance in the workplace can reap a number of rewards More open communication. A creative, problem-solving and innovative spirit.

Greater respect and trust. More effective and productive teamwork. A larger pool of talent to recruit from. Natural retention of valued people. Fewer stress-related conditions, like anxiety and depression. Staying on the right side of anti-discrimination laws.

Research has shown that rejecting diversity can impoverish teams. If you always hire the same types of people, you narrow your pool of potential recruits and make it harder to get good people into the organization.

You could possibly damage your personal standing as a manager, too. If team members operate as a clique and make life difficult for others, they deny themselves the breadth of knowledge, experience and outlook that more varied teams and organizations have. Identifying Unaccepting and Unacceptable Behaviors Teams that don't accept diversity can be unstable, unhappy and unproductive, so it's important to be able to identify both unaccepting and unacceptable behaviors, and to tackle them before they spiral out of control.

Unaccepting behavior can be anything from behaving frostily toward someone or "blanking" them, to habitually dismissing their opinions. Unacceptable behavior can be more tricky to define, particularly when wider cultural issues come into play.

For example, a team member might behave in a way that you think is wrong, but he may believe that this behavior is a part of his cultural practice. So, how do you then arrive at a reasonable and objective conclusion about this behavior, and stand up for what you believe is right, while remaining culturally sympathetic?

Accepting differences

Use this checklist to confidently and consistently assess whether a behavior is unaccepting or unacceptable, and to decide whether to support or correct it. Damage the organization or your team's mission or reputation?

Undermine your team's cohesion? Break organizational rules, or is it dishonest or illegal?What is the difference between the Unicode, UTF8, UTF7, UTF16, UTF32, ASCII, and ANSI encodings?. In what way are these helpful for programmers?

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