Tolerance and acceptance at work

With February being the “month of love” and Valentine’s day (or is it Singles’ Awareness Day!) just around the corner, I was thinking about love at the office. No, not in the cheeky sense of the word; but love for our colleagues, our work and our organisation. All of us have an internal moral compass that has been created by our upbringing, education and experiences in life, and at times these ethics may conflict with others’. This is especially true when we find ourselves in an environment that includes diverse people – as happens for most of us at work. So how do we learn to tolerate; work coherently with; and respect someone who has completely different views to us?


According to, acceptance is the first step to a successful organisation that fosters better performing individuals and teams. “When you accept someone, you acknowledge and welcome him or her into your environment, regardless of whether you share his cultural values, characteristics or experiences.”

Tolerance is another word that we hear thrown around a lot, but how many of us truly practice it? At, the author acknowledges what a challenge being tolerant can be, however it is a challenge that can be overcome by “simply treating people how we would like to be treated.” It is our tolerance of others that leads to our acceptance of them.

Yes, a lot of responsibility for tolerance and acceptance lies with our employers and the organisation we work for. It is the organisation’s responsibility to have a comprehensive tolerance policy, for our managers to set the example, and for all employees to be protected against intolerance. As Kevin Daum from puts it, ”Most people aren’t intentionally mean and hurtful. Often their intolerance stems from ignorance about people that are different or misunderstood.”

But ultimately we are responsible for our own behavior; and being tolerant, respectful and accepting of all those we come into contact with at work must be a basic prerequisite that we practice and perfect every day.



Paul O’Rear – NOTICE: Intolerance will not be tolerated

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