Given the current demonstration marches ongoing worldwide following the shocking killing of George Floyd, there are many issues being raised to be faced by all – and, in particular, as far as this website is concerned, by many people at work regarding how they treat each other there:
- The overall mantra should be ‘ALL lives matter, regardless of colour’ – but that would be unlikely to lead to any change
- Inequality has always existed, and always will – each of us is different and should be proud of it
- However, inequality of opportunity is the problem – ‘class and club’ systems, not merit, still ensure far too many ‘better’ jobs go to such ‘better’ people – whole swathes of society are thus prevented from climbing ladders too far
- If you are to build an efficient and effective team, organisation, even nation, all members must treat each other as equals who just have different jobs
- N.B. ‘You can do what I cannot do – I can do what you cannot do – together, we can do great things’ said Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
- In particular, managers of teams must always act with ‘tolerance of others’ – difficult though many will find this versus their daily back-stabbing, competitive rivalry, data-hoarding and power-politicking activities – and there’s the rub!
Hence, they might well consider the following anecdote told by Nelson Mandela:
“After I became president, I asked one day some members of my close protection to stroll with me in the city, have lunch at one of its restaurants. We sat in one of the downtown restaurants and all of us asked for some sort of food.”
“After a while, the waiter brought us our requests, I noticed that there was someone sitting in front of my table waiting for food”
I told one of the soldiers: “Go and ask that person to join us with his food and eat with us”.
The soldier went and asked the man so. The man brought up his food and sat by my side as I asked and began to eat. His hands were trembling constantly until everyone had finished their food and the man went.
The soldier said to me: “The man was apparently quite sick. His hands trembled as he ate!”
“No, not at all,” I said.
“This man was the guard of the prison where I was jailed. Often, after the torture I was subjected to, I used to scream and ask for a little water. The very same man used to come every time and urinate on my head instead”.
“So I found him scared, trembling, expecting me to reciprocate now, at least in the same way, either by torturing him or imprisoning him as I am now the president of the state of South Africa.”
“But this is not my character nor part of my ethics”
“The mentality of retaliation destroys states, while the mentality of tolerance builds nations.*