The idea of the leadership in the organization is based on the employees’ and managers’ perceptions of each other, as well as on the constant evaluation of their performance. It is possible for a person to develop as a leader if employees demonstrate respect for this individual. In a situation when managers or employees are stereotyped or discriminated, it is almost impossible to speak about the true leadership.
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Therefore, it is important to focus on one of the minority groups which are discriminated against in organizations. In this context, much attention should be paid to American Indians because they are among those representatives of minority groups who are often limited in opportunities to develop their careers and take leadership positions in the organization.
It is necessary to note that American Indians represent the highly discriminated group in organizations because their qualities, behaviors, and potential are associated with many stereotypes. As a result, the communication between employees becomes affected by wrong attitudes, and American Indians cannot demonstrate their professional or leadership attributes that can be perceived by coworkers adequately. According to Duckworth (2016), “the majority of the world’s problems are issues of communication” (para. 1). Thus, if representatives of different cultures cannot communicate effectively while working in one organization, it is almost impossible to expect productive cooperation.
People are inclined to perceive American Indians as representatives of one large tribe with a specific culture that differs from modern American culture significantly. As a result, there are perceptions that American Indians are not only similar regarding their traditions and beliefs, but they also are less educated or skilled in comparison to the other Americans.
Thus, Duckworth (2016) notes that “stereotyping prevents people from understanding that our history, culture, beliefs, looks, living conditions, language, etc., vary from tribe to tribe and even clan to clan” (para. 2). Moreover, such kind of stereotyping “perpetuates myths and ignorance” (Duckworth, 2016, para. 1). In this context, it is rather difficult to expect that American Indians can realize their leadership potential in organizations.
American Indians have a specific culture and views that are not understood by the majority. Harvey and Allard (2015) state that, in the American Indian culture, “the individual is expected to remain modest and humble,” and these people often “avoid seeming superior” (p. 214). Such behavior influences the aspect of leadership because talented American Indians can remain unprompted in the organization, and this process can also be influenced by stereotyping as an additional factor.
Furthermore, while developing the idea regarding the importance of communication in the organization, it is also necessary to refer to the words by Duckworth (2016), “the general population has a difficult time communicating with us both collectively and on an individual basis” (para. 4). American Indians become victims of other people’s prejudice and ignorance because managers and employees in companies can avoid communicating with representatives of this culture. However they need to understand the potential of American Indians, and managers can make mistakes in the communication process while emphasizing the ideas which are results of stereotyping.
From this point, American Indians can be discriminated against in American society and organizations. This aspect influences their leadership potential in the company. Managers often have underdeveloped skills regarding communication with these individuals. Therefore, they can underestimate the skills of American Indians only because they have limited knowledge regarding their culture, and they also have developed stereotypes.
Duckworth, S. (2016). Things not to say to American Indians. Web.
Harvey, C. P., & Allard, M. (2015). Understanding and managing diversity. New York, NY: Pearson.