I read an article last week that proposed a remedy to toxic workplaces.
A simple summary was that if managers would just be ethical and moral, then toxicity would disappear from our corporate settings.
But some of the most painful events can be the result of sincere but ignorant behaviors.
More than once I’ve made what I thought was a virtuous decision, only to learn later that I had reopened an old wound or perpetuated a common prejudice.
I’m grateful for those who gently told me the results of my actions. They did not respond with outrage. They did not chide me on ethical grounds. They knew that I aimed to be morally good, and they knew that honest ignorance sometimes creates a toxic environment.
I take two lessons away from this reflection:
1️⃣ Encouraging growth and correction is most effectively done without an ethical or moral judgment
2️⃣ I must deliberately learn about other cultures and perspectives to see and correct my prejudices.
Prejudice alone is not morally or ethically evil; it is natural. Simply having it does not make one a bad person.
But it can lead to bad results and a toxic work environment if it’s not discovered and corrected.