Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Embracing diversity in the workplace requires understanding, not just tolerance - CBC

by Jennifer Newman
Originally published: March 20, 2016
Publisher: CBC.ca

Workplace psychologist says having understanding will result in happier, more efficient workplaces

Workplaces can be very diverse, and when it comes to navigating that diversity people need to go beyond simply tolerating differences, says workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman.

Newman sat down with The Early Edition host Rick Cluff to talk about how staff can take an interest in others as individuals, and how to handle tricky circumstances such as when some feel uncomfortable because others are speaking a language they don't understand during lunches and breaks.

Rick Cluff: We hear a lot about tolerating our differences as the best way to behave with one another at work. Is this helpful?

Jennifer Newman: Tolerance is having a fair, permissive attitude towards others when they differ from us. It's kind of a live-and-let-live attitude based on the golden rule — we want others to treat us fairly and we want our differences tolerated, so we extend that to others.

However, most workers want to be more than tolerated. So, workers really need to go beyond just tolerating each other if they are to work effectively together. For example, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who actively went and created a 50-50 split between men and women on his cabinet. 

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