Tag Archives: respect

Faith @ Work I

14 Nov

Last week Wednesday I was at the Diversity@Work conference put on by Skills for Change about faith in the workplace. It was a thought-provoking day. The next few posts will share some of the things that stood out for me.

What struck me most about the panel discussion was the theme of getting to know people. I have long believed that political correctness (while perhaps well-intentioned) did us a great disservice because people became afraid to offend and so stopped talking and asking questions. Two particular things stood out:

We were encouraged:

1. To know how to read, listen, and attune to others so we can celebrate diversity

2. Through the spirit of listening and understanding, to develop a childlike curiosity about others, to have an interest to learn and dialogue and get to know people.

This last “call to action” was accompanied by an acknowledgment that we will likely make mistakes along the way, but that this is not the end of the world if we are, in fact, coming from a place of childlike curiosity.

Hooray! Asking questions and speaking with our colleagues (respectfully, obviously) is the only way we will get to know them. Getting to know someone helps to break down barriers as well as challenging our bias and stereotypes so we can actually see them rather than seeing who we think they are.

See more.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion.



Connecting with People

9 Aug

Two weeks ago, I assisted at a workshop called The Mastery of Self Expression.
One of the main themes of the workshop is connecting with others. At one point, Larry Gilman (the facilitator) spoke about how quickly we look away when we pass people on the street.

The fact that few people say hello when they pass by each other in a big city like Toronto has always got me. But this was a new idea: to say hello and keep eye contact. This morning I tried it.

It’s a grey day, I was returning home with my dog, and a woman was walking towards us. She looked tough, even a little mean (my assumptions), and seemed focused on getting where she was going. But I caught her eyes, said good morning, smiled, and stayed there.

And an amazing thing happened.

In the moment that our eyes met and held, she smiled back and her whole being transformed. The tough, mean exterior I had imagined vanished and for a split second, I saw her; the essence of who she is. It felt amazing.

Eye contact is not a sign of respect everywhere – or in a multicultural city like Toronto, for everyone – but where and when it is, I encourage you to try it. With strangers and colleagues and people you know well. You may be surprised by how little you actually do it. And even more surprised by what happens when you do.

See More.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder



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