Political Tensions and Stress
How to listen, hold space, and lead your organization through a rocky time
While it may be tempting to stay silent until the election of 2020 has faded in our minds, history has taught us that avoiding difficult conversations can cause fear, anger, and frustration to simmer (and eventually boil over!) in ways that you can't afford to ignore.
One of the strengths of a thriving workplace is that it brings together a diverse staff; how can you capitalize on these differences and foster an attitude of true harmony?
Five Things Leaders Can Do Right Now
Commit to mutual respect, and make it known — do not stay silent. Consider sending a message from the CEO or executive team that acknowledges the difficult situation, but focuses on a core message: strong organizational values and the unwavering commitment to respectful dialogue at all times.
Leaders should be non-partisan and objective while also being authentic. As your middle management staff are the daily role models for many of your employees, provide immediate guidance on how you'd like to see them handle political discussions that will bubble up. Emphasize that the importance of de-personalizing the elections, and allowing workers to speak from one’s own experience and not invalidating another’s.
Give people paid time off to vote.
Model the behavior you want to see. This is a time to showcase the softer skills of leadership. Be present and listen to learn. Read up on productive discourse and invite your staff to do the same.
Find ways to celebrate common ground and shared camaraderie. Plan activities (even virtually or on their own time) that provide light-hearted and interactive fun. This too shall pass.
Join EAP for a special election-week discussion as we focus on moving forward with compassion for ourselves and others. Click here to register for this free virtual event.