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Diversity, respect needed in the workplace

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Maria Nave
  • 90th Missile Wing Equal Opportunity
Here at Air Force Global Strike Command's F. E. Warren Air Force Base we have approximately 3,600 military and civilian employees of diverse backgrounds who must learn to get along with each other. How can we accomplish this goal? Here are some suggested ways people of diverse backgrounds can get along together that takes effort, but it is well worth it:

Welcome Diversity.

Every person has had unique experiences that have helped shape who they are. Every culture shares similarities and differences. When meeting someone who seems different from you, keep an open mind. You probably aren't as different as you think. Accept the differences that you do discover.

Think before speaking or acting.

Will you hurt someone if you continue? What will saying or doing what you're thinking accomplish? If nothing good will come of your words or actions, don't express them.

Practicing good manners.

This is just one way of letting people know that we care about them. That never goes out of style. Simple things like "Please" and "Thank you" go a long way.

Give everyone respect.

In order to receive respect you must give respect. Treat each person as the human being they are. You have to respect that person's choices or actions.

Ask people questions.

Find out how they are doing. Find out where their interests lie. After asking questions, encourage people to expand on their answers. In future conversation, follow up on what you've learned from them, and refer back to previous discussions.

Active listening.

This is important in getting along with others. This means paying attention to the person speaking, remembering names, and some details about the conversations you have.

Offer encouragement and praise.

Praise people not only to their faces, but also to the people who are important to them.
Give credit to others whenever it is due.
There's an old saying that says if you keep a smile on your face till ten o'clock, you'll smile all day. If you aren't in a good mood, simply wearing a smile can make it so you are. A smile is welcoming to others, and you become more approachable just by showing yours.