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Forgiveness in the Workplace: A Gift for a Harmonious Holiday Season

forgiveness Dec 27, 2023
The workplace has an air of joy and celebration during the holiday season. However, amidst the festive spirit, it's essential to acknowledge the importance of forgiveness in fostering a harmonious and productive work environment. The end-of-year holiday season is often associated with joy, generosity, and a spirit of giving. It's a time when individuals reflect on the year gone by and express gratitude for the relationships and experiences that have shaped their lives. In the workplace, this season provides a unique opportunity to extend these sentiments to our professional connections and practice forgiveness as a form of goodwill.

I, Dr Akhu,  the Inner Peace Doctor, coach, and consultant, was called into a workplace facing heightened tension and strained relationships among team members just weeks before the Christmas holiday. Upon arrival, I observed the palpable unease in the air, recognizing the need for a transformative approach. Through a series of tailored coaching sessions, I facilitated open and honest conversations among team members, allowing grievances to be aired and understood. The team began rebuilding trust and empathy using mindfulness techniques and forgiveness exercises. By the time the holiday season arrived, the workplace had undergone a profound transformation. The once-tense atmosphere had given way to a sense of unity and shared goodwill, creating a positive and harmonious environment just in time for the festivities. The experience highlighted the profound impact forgiveness can have on workplace dynamics, especially during the holiday season.

Research consistently shows that forgiveness has far-reaching benefits for both mental health and workplace dynamics. According to a study by Worthington et al. (2011), forgiveness is linked to lower stress levels and higher life satisfaction. Incorporating forgiveness into the workplace during the holiday season aligns with the spirit of Christmas, promoting positive interactions and fostering a sense of community among colleagues.

The Impact of Forgiveness on Workplace Relationships:

One of the key aspects of forgiveness in the workplace is its impact on relationships among colleagues. Forgiveness and seeking forgiveness create a culture of empathy and understanding. A study by Luchies et al. (2010) found that forgiveness is positively associated with relationship quality in personal and professional contexts.

During the holiday season, when individuals may reflect on the year's challenges and successes, providing a platform for forgiveness can strengthen workplace relationships. Encouraging open communication and the resolution of lingering conflicts can pave the way for a more positive and cohesive team dynamic.

Tips for Fostering Forgiveness in the Workplace During the Holiday Season:

  1. Reflect on the Year:
    Encourage team members to take time for personal reflection on the year's experiences. This introspection can lead to a better understanding of individual and collective challenges, setting the stage for forgiveness.
  2. Facilitate Honest Conversations:
    Create a safe space for team members to engage in honest and open conversations. This may involve addressing misunderstandings or conflicts that have arisen during the year, allowing for resolution and forgiveness.
  3. Express Gratitude:
    The holiday season is a perfect time to express gratitude for the efforts and contributions of colleagues. Acknowledging each other's positive qualities can create a positive atmosphere and make forgiveness more natural.
  4. Organize Team-Building Activities:
    Plan team-building activities that promote collaboration and communication. Shared experiences outside of regular work tasks can strengthen interpersonal connections and make forgiveness a natural part of the team dynamic.
  5. Encourage the Practice of Mindfulness:
    Introduce mindfulness practices within the workplace to help employees manage stress and enhance their emotional intelligence. Mindfulness has been linked to increased forgiveness and improved interpersonal relationships (Brown et al., 2013).

In the true spirit of the holiday season, forgiveness in the workplace serves as a powerful gift—one that can transform professional relationships, reduce workplace stress, and contribute to a more positive and productive environment. By incorporating these tips into your workplace culture, you can foster forgiveness, create a sense of unity, and make the holiday season a time of reflection, reconciliation, and shared goodwill.


Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2013). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), 211-237.

Luchies, L. B., Finkel, E. J., McNulty, J. K., & Kumashiro, M. (2010). The doormat effect: When forgiving erodes self-respect and self-concept clarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(5), 734-749.

Worthington, E. L., Witvliet, C. V., Pietrini, P., & Miller, A. J. (2011). Forgiveness, health, and well-being: A review of evidence for emotional versus decisional forgiveness, dispositional forgivingness, and reduced unforgiveness. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 37(5), 1051-1065.