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Don’t Let Election Passions Roil Your Workplace

People have their reasons for withdrawing from political discussion especially at work

After election day, more than 100 million Americans will physically or virtually report to their jobs, one of the few remaining spaces where citizens routinely engage with others who come from diverse backgrounds and hold different viewpoints. Those workplaces are likely to be the first outlet for pent-up emotions at a time of toxic political polarization. More than 25 percent of voters, according to a recent study, are already convinced that one presidential candidate or the other is “very likely” to cheat to win, and 64 percent think that it is “probable” that Russia will interfere with the electoral process.

Even in the best-case scenario, in which the race is clearly decided on election night, lingering bitterness and resentments will likely spill into the workplace. But if, as many experts predict, the counting of mail-in ballots continues well beyond Nov. 3, attended by cries of fraud, lawsuits and, possibly, even dueling slates of electors (i.e., members of the Electoral College), companies will face the potential of a roiled workplace for weeks and possibly even months. Anxiety, fear, anger and frustration will boil over in ways managers can’t afford to ignore.

What can they do? A new report by the Dialogue Project that is based on a year-long research effort offers advice on how to help employees engage in productive discourse and provides unsettling data about how difficult it can be.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Harvard Business Review.

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