I work as a conflict resolution practitioner and “workplace conflict capacity-builder”. I am a strong advocate of workplace community building and I consider myself to be a multi-partial (rather than impartial) support to all members of my institution. I am also a leader in a department of gifted and diverse human beings. I know that when tough issues arise, a foundation of community will support sustainable resolutions and lasting collaborations.
In our current political and pandemic culture, I have been thinking about how our workplace communities can be compromised because of distance and differences. In response, I have been seeking alternative ways to engage with my colleagues in order to reinforce our sense of workplace community and common purpose. This July in Portland Oregon, amidst the violent encounters between protesters and police, there appeared a “Wall of Moms”. This Wall of Moms initiative and the impact that these Mom-identifying persons have had in response to anti-black racism, has me wondering how individuals can be mobilized to build community despite distance and differences. I am inspired by the momentum, commitment and organic unity of these Moms and believe we can learn elemental lessons from this “Mom movement”.
I have heard many comments like, “If we all just did what our mothers taught us, we would have a better workplace”. I have also heard colleagues point to the poster, “All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten” as a way of demonstrating the core values of respect and civility that sometimes get lost or go missing along the way, in our work days. I have agreed with these comments with varying degrees of enthusiasm depending upon my mood.