Defining Tolerance and Inclusion In Leadership

tol•er•ance /ˈtäl(ə)rəns/weallbelong

noun: tolerance
1. The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

in•clu•sion inˈklo͞oZHən/

noun: inclusion

1. The action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.

I start this post off with the clinical definition of the words “Tolerance” and “Inclusion” because I think we all need to have this posted up in our offices, cubes..and some folks maybe they should consider getting this as a tattoo to remind them of the meaning.

There are far too many examples in our world today of where these words have been abused. In recent weeks we have seen CEO’s lose their jobs for their values and companies claim “tolerance and inclusion” in their statements only to see that their statements are full of hypocrisy as with the case of Mozilla.

We have seen college students show lack of tolerance and inclusion when it comes to those who oppose their point of view such as the case here in this video.


Tolerance and inclusion doesn’t mean you shut out what you oppose. To be tolerant, to be inclusive, one must be willing to respect others. If you are truly going to co-exist in this world, you must be willing to accept that not everyone will think or act like you. You must be willing to accept that everyone is different and through our differences is where we have strength. The courage to be tolerant isn’t to see those who oppose your point of view as an enemy, rather, you see that person as a chance for you to understand and accept that you may see a different perspective.What we have now in our world is division.

Divisive leaders who wish to conquer and divide us by our different values, our sex, our color and our basic human differences. Leaders who wish to divide us do not want to be inclusive, rather they want to instill a hate in others to seek to keep the gap between tolerance and inclusion.
Underneath all of us – men, women, black, white, brown, red, is one common theme. We are human. We all want the same thing in the end. We wish to be respected, to be heard for our character rather than just what on the outside makes us “different”.

As leaders, we have a responsibility to end the indifference and be tolerant of those whom disagree. We will never advance our businesses, our countries or our generations if we waste time pointing out what separates us and exclude those whom we can’t agree with it. It’s a no win game to be intolerant.

Leave your answer to these questions in the comment section.

Q1: Tolerance and inclusion are the cornerstones of our society – agree or disagree?
Q2: Should we always be tolerant of everyone? Or are there views that we should oppose?
Q3: Should leaders stand up for their values – even if others disagree?
Q4: What role does civility play in tolerance and inclusion?
Q5: How should leaders bridge the gap of inclusion and tolerance?


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