Today Jim asked me to contribute to the newsletter and in response I wanted to share thoughts on ‘tolerance’. In the last few months I’ve experienced both ‘benign’ and ‘real’ tolerance. Tolerance is the act or state of allowing or indulging beliefs and practices that might not be preferred or even approved by oneself or the group to which one belongs. We tend to pride ourselves on being tolerant, but this is usually when we do not care (benign) one way or the other about what others are doing. When we mind, and object, and dislike, but recognize the other’s right to do what he does or think what he thinks anyway, then the hard work of (real) tolerance begins.

Effective leaders know the importance of real tolerance to everyone in their organization. Real tolerance is a fundamental key to effective leadership and high performing teams. It is hard to have real tolerance, and effective leaders know that real tolerance is hard work. Embracing diversity in our styles and our values brings a world of benefit to us individually and to our organizations as we work to do our best work.

Recognize the difference between ‘benign’ tolerance and ‘real’ tolerance. Show your ‘real’ tolerance for those you likely object to. ‘Benign’ tolerance really doesn’t count!”

Written by Dan Fairley