Taking the Christ Out of Christmas: A Must Read Guide to Religion and the Workplace

Posted by on Friday, December 21st, 2012 with 1 Comments

Holidays at Work - What is Hanukkah?

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Are you ready for the Holidays?  If you’ve been asked that question again and again, you might have an inkling how those who don’t celebrate around Christmas time feel.  Or do you?

The fact of the matter is, Christians comprise the majority of U.S. society, followed by Jewish, Buddhists and Muslims. Christmas has become such a strong force, it’s not just a national Holiday, but it’s phased out the recognition of almost every other major religious Holiday.

In the workplace, is it possible that we’ve forgotten to recognize when someone else isn’t, um, Christian? While it’s not as common as you might have thought to have issue about religion in the work place, being a strong executive leader means dealing with everyone equally.

Recognizing Religion in the workplace

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If your staff practices anything other than Christianity, it’s equally important that you do everything in your power to give them the time off they deserve. Their family gathers the same as yours – it just might be around an alter instead of around a tree.

The other interesting factor, of course, is that Christmas is just one day. In other religions, there will be several days of significance leading up to their celebrated event.

An executive coach would guide you to take a few steps to ensure everyone is treated fairly:

Even though it should be, it’s not always easy to simply accept another religion that we don’t understand and/or necessarily agree with. Since many of us are Christian, we grow up with presents and ham. In fact, some workers come in to find their desks strewn with candy canes and tinsel.

However, Mormons may not give gifts at all. Your kind overtures could be insulting their policies.  Presents and the exchange of them can’t be denied but should be monitored and respected.  Don’t encourage the giving of gifts if you work with a mixed crowd.

Christmas in the workplace

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Likewise, some times of the day have to be respected based on various religious practices. So, let those folks take precedent on leaving early to make sure they have their time to correctly celebrate what’s important to them.

Finally, if you work in a hostile environment, aka with multiple mixed religions who don’t agree, it may be acceptable for you to simply ask in a non-threatening way, “Who needs what time off?”  Again, you can’t mention why or specifics, but you can say, “We’re trying to determine our production schedule for the upcoming weeks. Please advise me of your availability and/or time off requests today.”

As long as you approach religion with respect and understanding, there’s no reason you can’t take the Christ out of Christmas. We all need to get along peacefully and this is just one more way executive coaching can help.

Larry Seal is an experienced Executive Coach, Facilitator, and Speaker with over 20 years experience working with senior and executive level teams. For executive coaching needs, corporate development and improved leadership skills, contact Larry Seal today!

One Response to “Taking the Christ Out of Christmas: A Must Read Guide to Religion and the Workplace”

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