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Social Prejudice

Self-fulfilling Prophecy

Social Prejudice

Prejudice in any form, racial or social, is destructive and costly to society. Up until the ‘60s, society accepted racial prejudice, then the target of racial prejudice rebelled and society realized the destructive force of this attitude. Today, social prejudice is accepted by society and few realize its destructive force. It kills motivation and increases overhead cost in business. It forces students to drop out of school with a failure label that prevents them from discovering their natural talent. Self-fulfilling prophecy does the rest.

Prejudice Influences Leadership Styles

In business, social prejudice has always been a barrier to the flow of information. Leadership likes the feeling of its power while the targets of prejudice tolerate it. During the industrial age, the speed of communications was not critical compared to today and the barriers, social prejudice produced, had limited effect. With today’s fast changing trends, there is a need for fast flowing quality information. Social prejudice reduces quality and slows the flow. Social prejudice is a chasm that separates information from the people who need it. Many leaders are too proud to reach across and ask for it, instead, they will ask someone for their opinion on their side of the chasm. In the technology age, information is needed from the source, not chain of command or someone’s theory. To stay competitive, work environments must be free of social prejudice and leaders must be willing to cross social class barriers to seek information.

command-and-control leadership is the most popular leadership style while being the least efficient. Why it is popular? Because it appeals to man's natural desire for power, control, and influence. It gives leaders a feeling of job security, of being needed and indispensable. It is disliked by people who must follow orders, especially when recipients feel the effects of social prejudice. Conflicts between managers and workers increases overhead cost. Managers spend much of their time finding ways to overcome worker's resistance while workers spend much of their time searching for ways to do less. Worker responsibility is a threat to leaders, because their ideas may be challenged, they may feel they are not in control, and they are uncomfortable with advice from those who they feel are inferior.

The reason command-and-control leadership makes money is because all of their competitors use the same management system. When a competitor empowers its workers, overhead costs come down and the command-and-control company will soon be out of business. This is how Wal-Mart stores’ is putting their competitors out of business.

Workers have the same natural desires, "My idea is best and I am in control." When it is the worker's idea and they are responsible, they will make their ideas work. Searching for a better way motivates workers, which makes them efficient. Efficiency is team effort, where everyone from the CEO to the janitor is considered to have valuable information. Team responsibility produces a highly efficient work environment. This environment is free of social prejudice.

A small, but growing number of businesses recognize that team responsibility is extremely efficient and that social prejudice is a major barrier. To make responsibility effective, they have policies that keep prejudices out of the system - Wal-Mart is an example. In fact, this is the way startups can penetrate the turf of established companies - Southwest Airlines is an example. Many established companies recognize how small startups are gaining the market share and are trying to change the mindset of its workforce. During an economic down turn, surviving companies will be the ones who control social prejudice in the workplace and implement team responsibility concepts. The next generation of leaders will be free of social prejudice, will act as a coach and will delegate responsibility with decision-making powers.

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