Business Etiquette Series – Diversity

Business Etiquette Series – Diversity

How should I deal with difference?


The Etiquette of diversity is very simple. Treat others – all others – as you would want them to treat you.


Simplify the Etiquette of Diversity by observing the following basic rules:

  • Avoid sexist language. Obviously women are not girls, babes, omoges, or kokolets.


  • Religious and Ethnic Bigotry is obscene, illegal or just plain wrong. So is discrimination based on gender, size, social status, or disability. So we need to understand for example, that a Christian faith Boss giving his Muslim subordinate an urgent assignment when the subordinate is just about to break their fast, is just plain wrong and insensitive.


  • Never make jokes based on ethnic or gender stereotypes, except of course, you are sure your audience will not misunderstand.


  • Enable the disabled. Focus on the person, not the disability. This will alleviate discomfort.


  • When approaching a colleague who is visually impaired, alert him to your presence. Just saying hello is usually enough. If he does not return your greeting, identify yourself. ‘’It’s Femi” is usually enough.


  • Be patient when talking with someone whose speech is impaired. Fight the temptation to complete the person’s sentences.


  • A wheelchair should be considered an extension of the body. Do not touch or handle it. Ask before assisting a colleague in a wheelchair. Do not say, ‘’Let me help’’, but ask ‘’May I help?’’.


Key Learning Point: The Etiquette of Diversity is simple. Treat others – all others – as you would want them to treat you.