Posts Tagged ‘Too much tolerance’

Day 24 How to Lead by THE BOOK: Is “Tolerance” Killing Your Organization?

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Few Christians would argue that society has become too tolerant concerning moral issues. As a result, a similar sense of permissiveness is prone to carry over into the workplace. There’s a place for tolerance, and there’s a place for nonnegotiable accountability. Failing to understand the difference weakens a culture and encourages further  and ongoing deviant behavior. For instance, an area where tolerance can benefit an organization is in the arena of considering opinions that differ from your own. Not only should you tolerate differing opinions concerning strategies, change, and best practices, you should insist on them.

Areas where less tolerance is essential is in the realm of deficit ethical behavior. Again, trends in the workplace tend to follow society’s trends. That spells trouble for leaders today, because there are accepted behaviors in society and the workplace that violate clear biblical standards. Confronting and correcting those errors doesn’t make you judgmental, it simply means that you are acting in accordance with scripture and affirming what it declares as truth. There is a difference between being judgmental and discerning. Judging means that you condemn and punish, discerning means that you notice and correct.

In this secular age, behaviors that the Bible unquestionably defines as sinful are routinely legitimized by politicians and the courts. The advocates for these moral travesties claim that failing to acknowledge their “right” to behave sinfully indicates an unloving spirit of hypocrisy, as well as a violation of their freedom of speech and other human rights. However, the Bible never claims that to show love you must turn a blind eye to sin, or otherwise legitimize, or protect it! Society’s moral free fall and arrogant defense of doing whatever is right in one’s own eyes in the name of  “rights” has never been more widespread: from TV shows and movies with scenes that would make demons blush, to ubiquitous Internet porn, to “rights” movements that seek to sanction sinful lifestyles,  to the slaughter of 110,000 of the unborn daily,  just to name a few.

Today’s cultural current of hyper-tolerance can infect and diminish your business environment as your employees expect the “right” to be able to do their own thing, ignoring your values and standards. Their sense of entitlement promotes the lowering of ethical standards to accommodate them, and inhibits your effort to stretch them to reach your standard. Workers who expect to be rewarded merely because they show up, rather than step up, is evidence of their perceived “right” to put in minimum effort and get a maximum return. You also see evidence of ethical compromises when leaders promote or reward someone in their organization because they produce great numbers, even though their behaviors violate company core values. This brand of,  “sell out for the numbers” nonsense puts your entire organization at risk.

In, How to Lead by THE BOOK, one of the 70 challenges I’ll address is: How do I decide what to tolerate and what to declare as nonnegotiable? Every great enterprise must establish nonnegotiable behavioral expectations, because if you don’t decide up front what you will and won’t stand for, you will inevitably fall for anything.