Found in the Field · Teambuilding through Reflective Practice

Let’s talk about labels

Lorraine Aguilar, in a short video about how to stop yourself from labeling people makes a good point: leaders can pay attention to the way they are thinking about other people, and if they are labeling them, recognize that this may be one of the reasons that there are even problems. We are to become more aware of ourselves if we want to be effective in leadership, and if we want that, we have to be clear about what kind of behaviors we are bringing to the workplace and how these behaviors, conscious or not, are affecting those around us. It’s responsible to become aware of ourselves.

And see how labeling, for example, is one bad behavior that could be contributing to real problem(s).

‘Has anyone ever labeled you in a way that you didn’t appreciate? That’s like putting you in a box. People are making judgements. [Judgements] don’t feel good, and they also hold us back, from having an effective team, being an effective leader, and having an effective organization.’

Aguilar continues. Instead of saying, ‘This is a difficult person,’ you can say, ‘I have difficulty with this person.’ This way there’s less blame, and, ‘an organization with less blame is always a better organization.’

I like this. It sure breaks things down, clearly. If you can accept there are wide range of things going on at any given tie in someone else, then you can stop yourself from blanket-labeling them as X or Y.

Source: How Labeling People Negatively Affects Your Ability to Lead


Questions for discussion

In the post-covid work world, Design Kompany takes the stance that more openness, compassion, empathy, and self-awareness especially will be valued by both employers and employees. More caring, safe spaces, for people to be who they really are, without the fear or being judged or blamed, will make people happier. And want to work there. If not, there’s WFH. I’ve been WFH since 2009, personally, but that’s just me. What do you think?

What is going on for you, at work, regarding labeling and the tolerance of it? Have you found it difficult to get past this issue or is your workplace one that feels open, and safe? 

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