34 - Tolerance
It is important to listen to and consider the perspective of others. This does not mean you must agree with them. Just take some time to see things from their perspective and listen before forming an opinion. Learn to value the differences you have from them and vice versa. Hopefully, others will give you the same respect back in return. As you have probably noticed, this quality is immensely out of hand in society today. There is nothing wrong with having differing viewpoints. The problem arises when the viewpoint becomes more important than the one sharing the perspective. The most obvious example today is in politics. You may disagree with the opinions of other people or associates. However, lead by example and be "tolerant" of their vantage point. Focus more on the person and respect the individual, allowing them to be heard. Try to see where they are coming from and what led them to that opinion. As a leader, it is essential to listen to and acknowledge their words without judging the person. This task is not easy but will get easier with time and practice.
Characteristics of Tolerance:
- Acceptance. It is important to accept the person speaking rather than the content. Take time to consider the content, but if it is a blatantly different view than your own, be sure not to prejudice your opinion of the person based on the content. Accept the person as unique and do not base the relationship on their perspective. Separate the two and accept them for who they are.
- Love. We were all created as human beings to love and nurture each other. There are many forms of love. Show compassion for each other and embrace the differences that you share. Everyone has a lifetime and history of unique and individual experiences leading to their beliefs. Maybe they have been misinformed or do not have all the information to come to an accurate conclusion. Or maybe the same holds true for you. Whatever the case may be, remain calm, listen, accept and love the person and show grace as your differences come into play.
- Patience. You cannot control the actions of other people or their reactions. And right now, we live in a time where people have become so emotional if you not only do not share their same view but also if you are not willing to be as boisterous as they are in displaying it. While the easiest thing to do is probably a knee-jerk reaction of defending your own point-of-view or refuting theirs, through patience, remain calm and think before you act. It takes controlled forbearance to be able to communicate with some people with differing views. It has become an emotional issue, and many people do not have the self-control of a true leader to accept the idea of different opinions. Be the example and show patience and grace—act from a place of truth, righteousness, and goodness rather than uncontrolled emotion. Your response will stand out and exemplify an admirable trait to your associates, family, and anyone else fortunate enough to witness it.
- Respect. Listening with an open mind to another person without interruption and with complete focus is respectful. You must always show respect to others, especially when it is not an easy task. Unfortunately, some people become emotional and even "outraged" when their viewpoint is not shared. While difficult, show them enough respect to listen to what they have to say. Hopefully, in return, they will listen to your viewpoint and perhaps hear what you have to say as well. This may not always be the case, but it is the professional way to handle a difficult situation, and you can only control your actions. Make the right choice and do the right thing. Always show respect, and you will never regret your actions.
- Perceptive. Be wise to the fact that there are differences in opinion, but that does not mean a relationship must be dissolved, at least since it is in your control. Be aware of manipulation or other tactics to force another’s opinion upon you. Also, perceive what may be possible on your part to preserve a relationship. Sometimes the best answer may be to let the relationship dissolve and go your separate ways. With keen perception, you will know signs pointing to the most appropriate direction under various circumstances.
- Self-controlled. Remain self-controlled as you listen to different and sometimes extravagantly opposing points of view. Sometimes it may be offensive and may strike a nerve, or it may be directed at someone you love or respect. Consider the source, and always know there is no reason to be out of control of your emotions and self. Preprogram your mind as defined in Elevate Your Mind to Success, and be prepared with appropriate automatic responses during stressful situations. This will help you respond respectfully and mindfully.
- Determination. Being determined to respond gracefully may even impact another person in a positive and supportive way. It has been said that if there are five people in a room and they are asked to provide an opinion on a certain topic, you will end up with six to ten different answers! Let you intend to make a determined effort to preserve a relationship despite opposite opinions. Be more concerned about the person than being right. But do not cave in or resign your own opinion, especially if it violates your values or belief system.
- Humility. It is a positive and even cordial effort on your part to attempt to understand another person's beliefs. It is not necessary to agree with them. You are humbling yourself and your opinion of them and accepting differences, but there must be a way through it without damaging a relationship. Show humility by accepting them without resigning to their viewpoint. Humble yourself from the need to be right or in control of the issue. Listen and understand with tolerance, notwithstanding degenerating into indifference. Humbly agree to disagree and let them feel they are important to you and, as a person, they matter. Display their value by continuing an amicable relationship despite the differences.
- Cooperation. With differing opinions, it is important to have the capability of cooperating with the other party. While you may be on opposite ends of the spectrum, hold the ability to compromise and work together to find common ground. There will always be different viewpoints in a business with more than one person. It is important to display tolerance and be able to share opinions without fear of reprisal. It is best to have an atmosphere of complete acceptance yet remain aligned with the ethics and morals presented in the company guidelines and procedures. Learn and practice the value of working together in cooperation, respecting differences in ideas and opinions, and having an open mind to try new things. Accept your differences, grow from them, and take the opportunity to experience new and exciting things.
- Courage. It takes an incredible amount of courage to not only stand your ground without wavering, but also to do it eloquently while preserving a relationship and accepting another person despite their viewpoint. Often this event will cause emotions to flare. Be brave enough to persevere with gentleness and compassion and show tolerance and grace.
“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”
“Tolerance consists of seeing certain things with your heart instead of your eyes.” Orlando A. Battista
“Have a big enough heart to love unconditionally, and a broad enough mind to embrace the differences that make each of us unique.” D. B. Harrop
“There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it behooves all of us not to talk about the rest of us.” Robert Louis Stevenson
“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
What are your thoughts about this quality?
Who will you share this with?