We attach labels to people and groups of people, partly because we try to make sense of what we do not understand, and partly to reinforce our identity and belonging to a different group.
“People that are born in that period are weak.”
“People that work in that team are lazy.”
“People that come from that geographical area are dishonest.”
Even if we assume that these types of labels have some truth behind them (they usually do not and are more of a reflection of our internal insecurities, yet humor me for the sake of the argument), the best and more effective approach would be to first understand the deeper level of the manifestation that inititated the labelling, and then try to imagine and build an environment in which the deeper reason can either be leveraged or addressed.
So, for example, if we believe that a group of people is particularly weak, on a deeper level this might mean that they are better in touch with their own feelings and emotions. As a reaction, we could try to figure out a way to make sure that their improved understanding of their selves could be employed and put to good use.
If we assert that a certain team or department is lazy, it might be because they do not have the tools necessary to effectively do their job, or because their team lead is not sufficiently motivating. As a reaction, we might want to try to facilitate their tasks and work in any possible way, or look for another manager.
This happens very seldom. The easiest and most common reaction to labelling is either denigration or disregard. Denigration is where every form of extremism is born: we reinforce the labelling by supporting it with every evidence we might find, and we feed it to the public forum every time it is possible. Disregard is instead working around the group and their characteristics, building walls to keep them out, pretending they do not exist.
It takes a great deal of awareness and courage to act differently when we catch ourselves in lazy labelling.