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When is it OK to Talk Religion at Work?

I was recently asked this question and thought it was an interesting question to decompose with an eye towards coaching.

Why don’t we talk religion at work?

  1. We don’t talk about religion at work because people share different experience and beliefs
  2. We don’t talk religion at work because people often have difficulty with passionate emotional beliefs and react with anger when people don’t share their personal views
  3. We don’t talk religion at work because not agreeing with those in power will cost us our job

As an agilist I have often been called in to work with organizations in an expert transformation capacity. What we learn is that many organizations, at the core, suffer from deep seated fears of reprisals, an inability to speak truth to power, and an absence in the ability to have open an honest conversations. Religion does not even enter the picture!

If it is hard for employees to have an open and honest conversation about why it is import to not use “red” and “green” indicators because people may be color blind imagine how difficult it would be for an employee to discuss a personal belief that is wildly different from the accepted corporate canon?

Looking at our organizations and ourselves we should ask ourselves … what topics are taboo? How do I break down these barriers? Certainly religion may never be an appropriate conversation at work yet we can use it as an internal guide to measure just how open we are to new and controversial ideas.

Ennis Lynch

Ennis Lynch

Ennis Lynch is a Professional Coach Based in South Florida. His primary area of coaching focuses on coaching Software Engineering Leadership. On occasion he does Agile Transformation work as well but prefers coaching at the Team and Individual level vs. the organizational level.

If you have ever wondered: is professional coaching right for you ? Are you a Software Engineering Manager, Director of Engineering, Director of Software Engineering, VP of Engineering, or CTO reach out for a free initial coaching session. Initial coaching sessions are the real deal, no hard-sells, no "here is what you would get if you paid". Individuals that receive a free coaching session will get a normal private professional coaching session of 90 minutes (30 minute onboarding + 60 minute coaching) and it will be up to you to follow-up if you want to continue with help on your journey.

Ennis Lynch

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