On Tuesday November 6th our country goes to the polls once again to vote. As a leader and manager you have a responsibility to your company to guide people through difficult times. On Wednesday morning some people at work are going to be really happy. Others will be really disappointed. And some will be plain tired of thinking and hearing about politics. Rather than being blindsided on Wednesday morning there are some steps that you can take now to prepare.
First, acknowledge that people have different beliefs and reactions. State that you recognize that some people are excited and others disappointed by the election results. For many people politics and personal lives are not separate. They can’t shut off who they are or what is important to them when they come to work. They bring their whole self to work, a value of many companies but feels challenging at times in reality.
Work isn’t designed to be a place of political and personal discussions. But ignoring the broader societal context and influence isn’t the way either. Instead set the expectations for workplace discussions. Encourage your team to exercise their emotional intelligence skills and recognize that the reactions and perspectives of others may differ from their own. Remind people that working together does not mean everyone thinks or votes the same way.
Encourage your team to ask themselves, Can I discuss current events and politics with this person and still work respectfully and effectively with them? If the answer is no then don’t have that conversation at work. Recommend that people get the connection and support they need to celebrate or commiserate, and that may not be at work.
Finally, focus on the work and your team’s why for being at the company. Regardless of social and political beliefs people join companies for a reason. Ask your team to rely on that reason and shared purpose in the coming days and weeks in order to work together, fulfill your company’s mission, and treat each other with respect.