Forgiveness Is Good Business

I just came back from giving a three hour workshop for people who run family-owned businesses. The purpose of the workshop was to show:

1) that anger in the workplace is pervasive and can affect morale and productivity, which research shows;

2) that forgiveness is one solution to this problem because forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger which can directly affect morale and productivity;

3) that as people learn to forgive, then they may become better workers as well as better people;

4) that once people forgive the individual hurts that each encounters, then they might consider creating a forgiving community in the workplace.

The Forgiving Community in the workplace could be developed by putting ideas about forgiveness in any printed matter that describes fairness and honesty in the workplace, by leadership talking positively about forgiveness, and by supervisors mediating conflicts between employees with forgiveness themes as well as with the usual conflict resolution themes. Brining experts into the company from the outside by offering workshops on forgiveness could be considered as a way to give this message to all in the company: We care about the work climate and we care about your emotional health.

The feedback that I received from some of the 100 people in attendance was this: The discussion of forgiveness in the workplace is unique. Most had never heard a talk on it before and they thought it was relevant and important for their businesses. This seems like a new frontier worth pursuing in an organized, scholarly, and careful way.

R.E.

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