Did you catch that? Two coworkers having a jab at one another in the breakroom. Employee A – we’ll call him “Bob” – is a 50-something who can take a joke, and is no stranger to dishing it out when the situation calls for it. The other, “Sam,” is in her late-20’s. By no means disrespectful, she keeps people on their toes with a warm and friendly edge. When a conversation of no particular relevance reaches a point of general disagreement, each party dips their toe into the pool of pseudo-socially acceptable generational generalizations. “Ok, boomer.” “Right back atcha, you entitled millennial.” 

Social and cultural issues play out in the workplace.

Most of the time, invisibly. Everyone comes to work with their own values, beliefs, morals, prejudices and biases. Each of these is formed from individual experiences, relationships, upbringing and influences. When you get down to it, not one of your employees is even remotely like the other, and yet somehow we expect them to work and exist similarly to one another. What, because of a shared mission to churn out your product? Yeah, right. 

Thanks to the uncertain times in which we now live, demographical, generational, and cultural issues seem to have a giant spotlight on them. If you think your office is an exception, you’re so incredibly wrong. Polarization of differences can happen anywhere, anytime. 

These differences have the potential to create instability too. “Sam” makes a seemingly innocent remark about a recent political issue, incorrectly assuming that “Bob” votes like she does. Suddenly a literal chasm of differences opens up between them, triggered by their own respective beliefs and values. (Cue some biases, too.) These two once-amicable coworkers find themselves at odds with each other – and neither of them will say a word about it. The situation will remain under the surface of their interactions from here on out, holding the very real potential to contaminate their entire working relationship. 

Any one of the latest workforce self-help books will tell you that the most successful teams have highly diversified skill sets contained within them. But you can’t have diversification without a diversity of identities and personalities, too. So how exactly do we navigate some of the most complex societal situations history has ever seen? You don’t ignore it, that’s for sure. You address it. With a full acceptance of the reality in which we now live. 

Taking responsibility for your company’s culture is not a passive thing. You and your leadership team are not only accountable for delivering results, but also for protecting the environment where people spend a majority of their lives. Commit to living fully in the messiness it takes to be a leader these days, and embrace what is uncomfortable. Just because we don’t view things the same way doesn’t mean we can’t be authentic in our own truth and hold space for someone else in theirs. Empathy is supreme. To embody these principles is to create a real and positive impact in your organization and beyond. Leading Evolution can show you how. 

 

Contact us today to evolve the way you do business.