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Fear of Those Who are Different

In general, humans tend to be uncomfortable with differences and, therefore, seek to establish similarities in group settings for comfort. By doing this, we may actually fail to notice important differences in one another which can become barriers in future communication and teamwork. This is why we need to overcome our fear of differences.

Sometimes, differences among our coworkers causes us to be adverse to them, simply because we just don't know how to behave toward them. Maybe, we don't know what to say, or how to say it. This may lead to uneasiness and anxiety surrounding communication with this person. When efforts are not made to overcome these adverse feelings, friendship-building and successful collaboration can be hampered. This can also lead to the fulfilling of initial stereotypes we have made in our mind about people who are different than us. We may neglect to see the strengths that come with diversity, especially the talents and experiences in our group or team.

The bottom line is that fears of working with those who are different can cause numerous barriers to successful teamwork. Often, fears are unfounded and sometimes we just have fear of the unknown. Try to work past initial fears to learn more about your diverse team members. You'll be surprised how fast those fears can dissolve simply by taking the time to ask questions, communicate openly, and work together.