A healthy workplace is one that creates safe spaces for teams as well as clients. A place where differences are accepted and respected and diversity is seen as a strength. Surprisingly, it is also something that humanity just seems to be awakening to. Hence, the current focus on workplace training to understand the issues of and respect vulnerable minorities, women, seniors, LGBTQ, etc. is commendable. While I appreciate every single one of these training sessions and have found them to be very useful, each time I attend, I wonder why it’s so complicated in the first place.
“The dictionary defines tolerance as sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.”
A comprehensive focus on basic human values, tolerance, and respect for humanity should actually set the foundation for a healthy workplace as well as a healthy community. In an effort to be more inclusive, we are actually giving way to extremes, everything is black or white, there’s no room for grey areas. People avoid asking questions in fear of offending, this is limiting knowledge, leading to judgments based on assumptions and spreading misinformation. It is also dangerously divisive.
We are reluctant to voice our opinions anymore; we could offend one or the other. In this era of free speech and media explosion, communication is less frequent, less honest, less open and extremely restricted. We must relearn to voice our opinions respectfully, disagree respectfully and tolerate differences without holding grudges. We can hold different opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets and still be respectful of the other, co-exist with tolerance and harbour feelings of goodwill for our teams and our community.
Everyone needs space, a respect for their privacy and the feeling of security. However, this increasing focus on minding your own business is isolating every single one of us. People are lonely and mental health is suffering at work and at home. We put up friendly and brave faces but are becoming more and more indifferent to the sufferings of others, especially because our own issues are unaddressed and we are fighting our battles alone.
Effective communication is not just about the message; it’s also, how we choose to communicate. The mode of communication is not just the physical, but the tone, the vibes, the body language, and gestures, which define the “respect” element of giving or receiving messages.
It really is that simple; don’t complicate it for yourself and others! Let’s relearn respect!