Tolerance is the ability or willingness to put up with the existence of opinion or behaviours that one dislikes nor disagrees with. Having a good relationship with your co-workers will make your job enjoyable, but a poor relationship with them will spell doom for you.
Practising tolerance at your workplace can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work out. Despite our potential differences in values, beliefs and opinions, we must learn to be open-minded in our interactions with other individuals who are not like us.
In the workplace where we are surrounded by people with diverse cultures, religions, lifestyles, marital statuses, dressing, education, age, and tribe, and to cope around them effectively, tolerance is an important skill we should cultivate. We must learn to tolerate each other if we are to coexist and function effectively as a team.
Building tolerance in the workplace as an employee
In any organization, employees should endeavour to make tolerance a daily commitment as it will help in promoting a greater sense of understanding, build a good working relationship and boost productivity.
An organization will become a breeding ground for misunderstanding and unethical behaviours when the employees lack tolerance, thereby thwarting the company’s progress.
Even the Bible admonishes us to show tolerance with Love “be completely humble and gentle: bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2)
Below are some ways we can build up a tolerance in our workplace
Being empathic with people at your workplace will do you more good than you can imagine. The first step for you to tolerate others is to show empathy. Try to see things from the next person’s perspective.
You both are different individuals from different background with different experiences; therefore, your view on a particular issue will be different. Looking at things from the other person’s angle will enable you to tolerate his/her idea without getting irritated.
Ask for an explanation
Arguing with your colleagues and trying to force your views on them is a sign of intolerance. If you find it difficult to assimilate or accept what the other person is saying you can ask them for an explanation, so you get a better understanding of their own views or perspective.
Ignore your differences
Although being tolerant has to do with learning to accept and value our differences, sometimes we should ignore our differences as colleagues for us to work efficiently. To achieve this, we must learn to skip some topics that will lead to argument because of our various beliefs when conversing with co-workers.
You can come to a resolution with your colleague if you are finding it difficult to empathize or tolerate him/her. You can find a solution together by getting to know the story behind your individual views. It will help in respecting and tolerating each other’s opinion.
Coming to terms with the fact that you are surrounded by people who are different from you in so many ways will enable you to tolerate each one of their differences.
For you to tolerate others, you have to value diversity and uniqueness. When you try your best to be open-minded towards other people’s views and culture different from yours, you will develop the habit of tolerance.
Building Tolerance in the workplace as an Employer
As an employer, you are surrounded by employees from different spheres of life, of which some are tolerant, and others are not. It is your sole responsibility to imbibe in every one of your employees the spirit of tolerance for them to be efficient and carry out their duties effectively.
Here are some ways you can build tolerance in your organization:
Draw a line
You should let your employees know that just because they have different societal beliefs doesn’t mean all their behaviours will be condoned in the workplace. They should understand that the workplace is a corporate environment with people from different cultures and with different beliefs.
Create a work ethics handout showing the do’s and don’ts of the organization, and behaviours that are not welcomed in the premises, such as ethnicism, gender discrimination and others.
Respect Operational routine
Letting your employees know how important the culture of tolerance is in the workplace is solely your responsibility as an employer. You should let them know that they have to respect each other’s abilities and ways of getting tasks done in the organization.
Choose your words wisely
If you feel what you are about to say will negatively impact any of your employees, then don’t say it. Though they may be open-minded with each other, they are still sensitive to issues relating to their culture, background, beliefs and values. So, while addressing them, don’t use words that might hurt their beliefs or indicate that you support one of them over the others.
Help them understand each other.
As an employer, you should try your best possible to help your employees understand each other and see things from each other’s perspectives. Teach them how to get along with their colleagues who have different opinions, lifestyle, culture and beliefs.
Lead by example
People learn by example. Don’t expect your employees to tolerate each other’s excesses if you, as an employer, find it difficult to tolerate them yourself.
When you set a good example for your employees, they will learn to imbibe the culture of tolerance in their day to day activities at the workplace.
Benefits of adopting tolerance in the workplace
Open and honest communication
Being tolerant with one another in an organization will trigger honest communication between employees since they now accept their differences. The communication flow pattern in the organization will be free and open, enabling employees to accept each other’s ideas.
Respect and trust
Once employees understand each other’s perspectives, they will accord the needed respect to each other and build trust amongst themselves without stepping on each other’s boundaries.
Teamwork and cooperation
Understanding and tolerating each other’s differences will help the employees of an organization build up teamwork which is essential for the growth of the organization and to achieve productivity.