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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.



Maintaining workplace relationships and finding common ground

  • Self-Care Wheel - use it individually or with your whole staff; a great place to start better understanding what you really need and can give others on your team

  • Fun and Dynamic Quiz Center - happiness at work, social capital, relationships, and more quizzes at the Greater Good Science Center 

  • Six Tips for Speaking Up - science-based, specific tips for navigating a challenging conversation

Woman with Amputee Using Laptop


Articles and guides for staying grounded

  • Family Conflict Is Normal; It’s the Repair That Matters - how to navigate the inevitable tension and come back together 

  • Six Strategies for Building Resilience: from

  • 11 Things That Will Help You Hold Space for Someone - build positive regard and sit with "what is" 

GET IN TOUCH (main site)

866-660-9533 (24/7 hotline)

Management Consultations:
(844) 272-7327

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