It's the time of year to celebrate diversity...and include everyone!
A number of years ago, I was a new front-line customer service person at a large organization. As the winter holiday season approached, everyone started to decorate for Christmas. My family doesn't celebrate Christmas, so I gathered up my courage, knocked on the Branch Manager's door, and asked if we could add Hanukkah and other holiday celebrations as well.
By the time that I got back to my desk, an email had been sent to all branch employees saying that from now on we would be including other holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as enthusiastically as Christmas!
You can imagine how I, and the other employees who celebrated other holidays, felt! Included, uplifted, less stressed, to name a few. The addition of learning how to celebrate different holidays, trying new foods and traditions added to the joy and fun during a stressful work time of year!
This year, at work, at home at school and while you are out in the community, please remember that leaders create culture. Deliberately...or willy-nilly by inaction.
To create a kind culture during this holiday season here are some simple ideas:
If you aren't sure if or what holiday an employee is celebrating, please ask them!
Once you find out, please use the correct holiday greeting for the holiday that THEY are celebrating...not the one that you are if it is different!
If your organization decorates for the holidays, please add decorations from many traditions! Even if no one in your office celebrates those holidays, family members of theirs and clients certainly might!
And please, remember that many people are extra-stressed at this time of year. Perhaps they have financial strains, family troubles or its the first year they are missing a loved one. Be sensitive to forcing people to attend holiday celebrations and be of good cheer. Remind people that it's okay not to be okay at this time of year.
Kind leaders know that kind culture is created by their deliberate actions. This is a great time of year to "recognize your people as people" who have diverse celebrations and traditions, and create a kind culture for all.
Please see Chapters 2 and 6 of The Kind Leader for more on creating kind culture and recognizing your people as people!