Creating an empathetic workplace is for everyone—not just you. The world is filled with terror, anxiety, and discord. Every day there are acts of crimes, protests, war, famine, and terror.
Because of these difficult events, people start to dislike each other. They hate one race because they believe they are superior. People spout nonsense and hate-filled ideologies that make us distrust and doubt one another. In short, the world is a terrible place and we made it that way.
So how should we deal with this problem? Should we tackle this head-on? Should we force our ideologies to other people because we think we are on the right? Doesn’t that make us the same as them? If we use force against force, then we are no better.
People repress their emotions and this will likely lead to anxiety, sorrow, anger, and dissent in the workplace. These things will cause fellow workers to doubt one another resulting in counterproductive activities like quarreling and backstabbing.
There are more subtle and simple ways that you can do. You can stop the march of hate into the workplace by leading it with compassion and empathy.
What can you do about it?
There are many solutions to a problem. But we must tackle the biggest of the problems first. These major problems that we have to deal with are…
Terrorist attacks and hate crimes
One of the most common things we see on the news and in our daily lives are hate crimes. Terrorist attacks might not be very common in the States but countries worldwide experience terrorist attacks on a daily basis.
And the recent Orlando shooting shows that these problems should not be ignored. People lose their family, their friends, and their loved ones because of hate crimes and terrorist attacks.
Terrorist attacks are hard to solve and this problem should be left to the state, however, hate crimes are a cultural thing and you can make a difference to stop it if you know what to do.
So what can we do to stop hate crimes?
At times like this, one must be mindful of other people and of our employees. When people see hate crimes and terrorist attacks on the news, one cannot help but blame a certain race or blame a certain culture.
If you’re a manager then you should act quickly, doing nothing will only worsen the situation. As the leader of your employees, you need to bring everyone together. You can start to lessen the hostility in the air by acknowledging their hate. Sympathize with them and tell them you understand what they feel, but tell them that they shouldn’t resolve things with violence.
Politics and Trends
It is the age of globalism. The world is connected and what happens in one area, may affect the rest of the world. Any professional would know that politics is a topic that shouldn’t be discussed with your fellow workmates. But most of them can’t help it since modern-day politics have taken a polarizing stance. Our politicians want us to take their side and hate their enemies.
It’s only natural for people to take sides. And taking sides is a good thing when done in a healthy and productive manner. However people are drawn to a mob mentality, they are drawn to an “us against them” mentality. It makes them feel safe and it gives them purpose.
This mentality of “us against them” is a detriment to the workplace. People need to respect other people’s opinions. They should not let politics determine how they should treat their fellow coworkers. It doesn’t’ matter if your coworker supports a certain politician. It doesn’t matter if your coworkers are democrats or republicans. It doesn’t matter what side they are on, because you’re in the same boat as them. Fight on the boat and all of you will sink.
So what can I do to lessen the impact of politics in the workplace?
It all starts with acknowledgment. You must first acknowledge that this problem exists before you can start to solve it. Help your employees acknowledge and understand that all people have their own opinions and beliefs. Tell them that they should accept other people’s opinions and people will respect theirs in return.
It’s just one word but it makes a big impact. Putting a label on someone because of their race or culture is a big problem. Minorities have been oppressed for several generations. It can’t be helped that most of them simply accept their fate allow themselves to become victims. They are afraid to speak their own minds because they fear for their own lives.
The African American community and the Mexican immigrants are probably good examples. These minorities are known to have been involved in the illegal drug trade, shootings, and criminal activity. It is natural for people to hate them for the crimes that they have done.
However, you must understand that not all African Americans and Mexican Immigrants are criminals. Only some of them are. There are black criminals, there are white criminals, and there are Asian criminals. A criminal is a criminal. There is no race of criminals because criminals come in different shapes, colors, and sizes.
What can I do about it?
The best way to remedy this problem is by breaking down barriers. Break down the concept of discrimination. Take the initiative by treating minorities the same as their fellow coworkers. Show your employees that they are people too and that they should be treated with respect.
The idea of safe spaces is an interesting concept however it isn’t an effective one. Creating safe spaces for minorities will not heal any cultural rifts, in fact, you are creating a wall between them and their fellow coworkers. Other people will see that they are treated differently and they will treat them differently as well.
Minorities who are given safe spaces might see that you are looking down on them and quite frankly it’s insulting to be given special treatment because you’re different. The best way to deal with this is by treating everyone equally, not by treating the minorities as a special case.
The road to equality starts by treating everyone equally. It isn’t done by giving special treatment.
Compassion is key
You cannot fully expect an individual to change quickly, it takes time and it takes a lot of effort. You must set yourself as an example. Treat everyone equally, treat everyone justly, and most importantly, treat everyone compassionately.