Di­a­logue key to peo­ple’s emo­tional well­be­ing in work­place

New Straits Times - - Letters -

THE in­ter­ac­tion be­tween work­ers of var­i­ous back­grounds is cru­cial in an or­gan­i­sa­tional set­ting to en­sure that there is a dy­namic syn­ergy and ef­fec­tive work cul­ture.

As ad­vo­ca­tors of di­a­logue and peace­ful co­ex­is­tence, we be­lieve that a healthy form of in­ter­ac­tion is man­i­fested in di­a­logue.

Martin Bu­ber, a philoso­pher on di­a­logic con­cepts, de­fines di­a­logue as a “gen­uine ex­change from com­mu­ni­ca­tion to com­mu­nion”. This con­cept points to a pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent par­ties which be­gins with sin­cer­ity, with­out ul­te­rior mo­tives and which pro­ceeds with open­ness and re­sults in col­lab­o­ra­tion.

In this re­la­tion, the ba­sics of di­a­logue, which have been out­lined in the Qu­ran, can ben­e­fit all peo­ple, re­gard­less of one’s be­lief.

One of the most es­sen­tial foun­da­tions of di­a­logue is ac­cep­tance of di­ver­sity, that is, by be­ing keen to un­der­stand the other’s point of view with mod­esty and re­spect.

This is what the Qu­ran states: “O mankind, in­deed We have cre­ated you from male and fe­male and made you na­tions and tribes that you may know one an­other.

“In­deed, the most noble of you in the sight of Al­lah is the most right­eous of you.

“In­deed, Al­lah is Know­ing and Ac­quainted.” (Chap­ter 49, AlHu­ju­rat: verse 13)

Such open­ness is pro­moted by sus­pend­ing hasty judg­ments and be­ing care­ful of pre­con­ceived ideas about the other.

Each per­son is unique with his or her good qual­i­ties, and each per­son also has flaws as a hu­man be­ing.

So, avoid be­ing judg­men­tal as the Qu­ran tells us: “O you who be­lieve, avoid much (neg­a­tive) as­sump­tion.

“In­deed some as­sump­tion is sin.” (Chap­ter 49, Al-Hu­ju­rat: verse 12).

Th­ese two fun­da­men­tals of di­a­logue are the men­tal state to en­able a par­a­digm shift from sta­tus quo to a more pro­gres­sive out­look, which Hans-Ge­org Gadamer, a Ger­man philoso­pher, has termed “fu­sion of hori­zons”. This is a state when readi­ness to learn from each other oc­curs.

In lay­man’s terms, it can be il­lus­trated as fol­lows: I have my style of do­ing things. You have your way. We do things dif­fer­ently based on our dif­fer­ent back­grounds. But if I con­sider your style and adopt ac­cord­ingly to things that I am ac­cus­tomed to, we could to­gether cre­ate a bet­ter out­come, or of­fer a bet­ter so­lu­tion as com­pared with the cur­rent prac­tice.

Di­a­logue, if ap­plied in this man­ner, can pre­vent mal­treat­ment in work­place, which in­cludes gos­sips, in­sults and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

It can also po­ten­tially keep em­ploy­ees and em­ploy­ers alike from the ugly ef­fect of of­fice politics, which stems from the idea of ma­noeu­vre for self-pro­mo­tion and self-in­ter­est, most of the times at the ex­pense of in­tegrity and pub­lic in­ter­est.

In short, di­a­logue is the key to the emo­tional well­be­ing at the work­place.

In the long run, con­ducive in­ter­ac­tion leads to self-ef­fi­cacy of em­ploy­ees and ef­fi­cient work per­for­mance, which, in turn, in­crease the pro­duc­tiv­ity of an or­gan­i­sa­tion. Thus, let us to­gether cel­e­brate di­a­logue at the work­place.

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