Diversity and Compassion...How to Forgive

As we watch the D&I space grow to the amazing accomplishments we see today, we celebrate President Biden reconfirming our needs to remove systemic policies and practices to create a more united, accepting and stronger nation. We continue to embrace the diversity which makes us strong.

Whether you are new to the workforce and diversity education, or you’re like me and have been training about diversity since the early 2000s, the awareness of diversity, ethics, equity and inclusion is evolving. At first, diversity education may have been a requirement for the company to regain their ‘good standing’. In my experience, it was coupled with ethics training to educate all employees on treating customers and each other with respect and equality. 20 years later, we are still learning and evolving, recognizing each other’s differences and becoming more aware of the little things.

In recent years, we have pulled the curtain back on many areas of discrimination as well as incorporating current events that impact employees into our practices. And when leaders and company’s misstep, we need to allow them the opportunity to learn and grow from their faux pas. Growth and forgiveness start with apologizing and recognizing that we have much more to learn. It shows that leaders are fallible and … human. The benefit is showing employees we don’t all need to be perfect to excel in our lives and careers. A faux pas can be an opportunity for a company to collectively reflect and grow from the moment and the person who committed the gaffe can turn the misstep into a stepping stone. In fact, most forgivable errors contribute to organizational and personal learning; they are an essential part of experimentation and a prerequisite for innovation.

To drive awareness and compassion in these crazy times, it’s important to acknowledge that mistakes will be made as we develop new norms. While we work to create corporate culture in new and exciting ways, there will be moments where we have lost the personal touches and social communications that teach us more about each other. It is usually through these casual encounters and group activities that we learn who is behind the title and what their personal stories are. We take our EQ and learn what’s below the surface of the iceberg and helps us learn tolerance and acceptance, creating the inclusion companies seek. We are learning as we grow.

So, as we all move collectively into the new work environment, reflect upon your growth. Remember a time when you made an error. Were you forgiven or did the punishment not fit the crime? What were your learning moments? How did you mend the relationships when you misstepped? Were you more forgiving to others when they had a gaffe?

The below tables from Michael Stone’s paper Forgiveness in the Workplace shows the impact of forgiveness, pros and cons.

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And a couple of great articles too. Enjoy!

Why We Should Cultivate Forgiveness

Diversity and Inclusion Practices to Leave Behind

7 Effective Steps to Mend in the Workplace

Forgiveness in the Workplace - Stone

Personal Growth

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