People Skills Learning: Why We Label People & How to Stop | #PeopleSkills
by Kate Nasser |
People skills learning gives us the ability to replace bad interaction habits with productive ones. One of those bad habits — labeling others — is well worth replacing. Labels limit others and limit interaction. Even labels that we mean with good intentions, can create resentment and the desire for revenge. Let’s look at why we label and how to stop.
People Skills Learning: A World of Possibilities
Picture babies who are starting to speak. As they learn, they use whatever words they know to describe what they see. They label. Labeling is part of early learning. As babies grow up they learn more. They replace their early labels with more accurate descriptions. They see that the early labels were an initial view, a piece of the truth.
When I was little, I learned the word mommy. Then adults would say something like, “Oh your mother is over there.” After that, I called her “mommy mother.” I combined all the information in to a new label. Eventually I learned they were different words for the same person.
As adults we also label as we learn new things. If we stop learning, we cling to the labels we started with. It can become our implicit bias that we live and use daily to label others. If we keep learning we move past the labels. We replace the labels with more knowledge and awareness.
People Skills Learning to Stop Labeling Others
- Be aware of our own fears and insecurities. Self-awareness opens our minds. It gives us the courage to learn about others instead of labeling them from afar.
- Consider why we use specific labels that limit others. Did an authority figure teach us those labels? Have we absorbed them from popular use without considering if they’re true? Did we start using harmful labels when we felt we didn’t matter?
- Ask more questions. Talk to people. It keeps us in learning mode. It gives us knowledge and insight to replace labels. “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. ~Barack Obama, Farewell Address Jan. 2017”
- Describe behavior with greater clarity instead of labeling people. People are deeper than labels.
- If we don’t like the behavior we see, state what change we want to see. For example, if a teammate isn’t completing their tasks and it’s delaying our work, it’s far more productive to speak with the teammate and express what we need instead of labeling them as lazy.
People skills learning moves us past the labels. Learning brings us to understand differences. It helps us expand our understanding of different cultures and practices. Learning bridges and closes the gaps between people. It keeps us growing and changing as the world changes.
Mark Twain famously said, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” So is learning!
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
©2017 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
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