Don’t engage in behaviors that single out a culturally different person, especially if that person is in the minority at your workplace. This may seem obvious, but we often do this without realizing it. In fact, it’s a fairly common, and often well-intentioned, mistake. For example, I have observed many situations where people who are cultural minorities are asked to serve on a team, committee or council because of their race, gender, age or sexual orientation. The goal of the person making the request is to ensure different viewpoints are represented, which is an honorable and desirable pursuit. However, while it may be a great honor to be asked to serve, always be aware of the difficult position you can place someone in if you single them out. Please note I am not suggesting you refrain from asking for diverse participation. That is a noble and worthwhile goal, and can greatly improve performance in your organization. Just be prepared to address any difficulties that person may have in adapting to that situation.
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Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes is an author, speaker, coach and consultant. He helps his clients develop the skills needed to communicate, resolve conflict, solve problems and improve performance in diverse organizational settings.