Beliefs vs. Behaviors, Stopping Discrimination in the Workplace

Russell Stratton, President & Leadership Champion with Bluegem Learning leaning into this month's topic of Respect At Work....

I work with organizations just like yours to help develop managers so that they can be even better at building engagement and improving individual and team performance.


In our last VLOGS we were looking at the topics of STEREOTYPING and The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - how our beliefs translate into behavior.


This sets the stage for today's topic where we focus on specific problems that come up in the work place.


Prejudice and Discrimination


When working clients through models to deal with Prejudice and discrimiation, we use a system called The Prejudice/Discriminator Model.


It consists of four separate quadrants of thinking AND behavior.


So if we look at the first quadrant, we're dealing with situations in which an employee or team member is both prejudiced AND a discriminator. This means they are prejudiced in their belief, and these beliefs are followed through with behavior that is discriminatory.

We can see instantly that this person's behavior is unacceptable. We can then start to take some action (and in my next VLOG we'll talk about specific action we can and should take).

But this is pretty obvious. What we can see as second box is somebody that is prejudiced but a non discriminator.


If you remember from our previous video, we have somebody that maybe holds a prejudice belief, but they are making efforts not to let that show in their behavior in the workplace.

Of course we can't force someone to change their beliefs, but we must not allow those beliefs to show in their behavior at work.

This is a difficult thing for people to do because often our beliefs seep through into our attitudes and behavior. Somebody may think "I'm not being discriminatory", but actually their behavior tends to show differently. As a manager, you must recognize prejudice before it begins coming out in behavior so it can be nipped in the bud.


The final box in our Prejudice/Descriminator Model (yes, I know I'm jumping ahead), is those good little boys and girls who are both non-prejudiced and not a discriminator. These are out ideal employees when we're discussing respect at work. This person doesn't hold prejudicial views and they don't discriminate in the workplace in terms of their behavior.

But the important quadrant I want us to focus on is box number three and this is our non prejudiced but discriminator.


The Non-Prejudiced Descriminator


What do I mean somebody doesn't hold a prejudicial view but they still discriminate?


We see this whenever noticable discrimination is taking place at work. When we witness behavior happening in the workplace that we know to be wrong - victimization, verbal bullying, harassment of various kinds.

Most of us don't share those prejudiced beliefs, but many have done nothing to stop it.

I've had people say to me, "but that's not my role, Russ. I'm a team member. That's management's job"


To a degree this is true, but we all have a responsibility to act, to deal with situations that we know to be wrong and step in and take action to.

Remember you might not hold a discriminatory views, but if you do nothing when you see other people discriminating against your coworkers, victimizing or bullying people and you just allow it to happen, then you actually fall into this Non-Prejediced/Discriminator Role because you're allowing discrimination to happen.


In our next video we're going to talk about "The Spectrum of Challenge" and see how it can assist assess the right actions to take if and when the need to take action arises.


If you'd like to get some more information on respect at work, then click on the link below and find out about our lunch and learn!


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