Raza Baig, Indian
CEO, Splash, Iconic and Landmark International and director at Landmark Group
“Tolerance is all about accepting and understanding every culture, behaviour and background that today exists within the gamut of people at the Landmark Group. We make people feel safe in the work environment. Tolerance is a culture that this nation adopts and teaches very well, so it’s well-woven into society.
“Most certainly, tolerance begins with me and flows top-down to the last person in the organisation. [The way to encouarge tolerance] is to always find ways to listen and accept that people are different. Once we accept this reality, it makes for very easy solutions.
“If leaders don’t judge and have opinions, they tend to be more tolerant and open-minded. Virtues such as being understanding, forgiving and humble go a long way in building a tolerant atmosphere in a work environment.
“A tolerant workplace makes for happier staff and a positive work environment. When employees feel that the work culture respects their beliefs and values, they become more effective and efficient at what they. [On the negative side], if tolerance is found lacking, then the overall culture becomes toxic with unhappy people all around.
“When it comes to the challenges in implementing tolerance in an organisation, executives with big egos and self-esteem are the biggest challenges. If not managed, the work culture can change and hurt the business.
“If the culture is to build a happy and healthy environment, then both the individual and the leadership need to come together to achieve the spirit of tolerance.
Colette Griplas, Australian
Senior lawyer at a Dubai based firm
“Tolerance in the workplace means having the courage to recognise and acknowledge the differences between people based on their divergent worldviews. Open communication, willingness to see another’s point of view, and clear boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour can foster tolerance in a workplace whose employees come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Tolerance is fostered through ... eradicating fear of what is unknown or unfamiliar to create a welcoming and inclusive workplace.
[In the role of the middle management], tolerance is built by understanding another person’s perspective even if you have not had the same experience as them. Encouraging people to be open-minded and respectful in the workplace can be difficult, especially in a stressful workplace environment. In a multi-cultural workplace, tolerance is a key driver of productivity, which eventually affects the bottom line. The difficulty for middle management is to help employees build bridges and capitalise on the perceived differences present in the workplace.
“Some of the ways in which tolerance can be [promoted], is to encourage employees to engage in open dialogue with each other to gain a better understanding of each others’ views and beliefs; this comes from the top down and the management must lead by example. All businesses should encourage employees to find common ground between them so they can overcome their differences and work together – it is a win for everyone because higher morale and improved productivity are bound to follow. A lack of tolerance thwarts team and company progress and encourages a breeding ground for misunderstanding and unethical behaviour.”
Suad Ashimi, Nigerian
“Tolerance is about showing an understanding towards diverse opinions.
“I have a supportive team and understanding colleagues.
“I won’t necessarily say it would be a challenge if there was no support [from the top and middle management], but it would be going against the principle of tolerance and it will definitely put those observing Ramadan in a tougher position. I say this because, in Ramadan, one of the major things we learn is self-restraint. So, while other countries don’t necessarily have support from management during Ramadan for accommodating provisions such as shorter hours at work, it does help and make it more accommodating for people whether they are fasting or not, to observe and be a part of Ramadan.
“In the community we are right now, no five people share the same nationality, religion or culture. This also reflects on the workforce where the laws and work culture need to be accommodating to everyone. This, therefore, becomes tied to the need for tolerance which might sound straight-forward and simple on paper. However, with the diverse society we have, [companies] need to be able to understand these differences and put in place measures as well as rules to implement at work.”