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How to Lead Your Team Through the Election

Politics likely has your teams more keyed up than usual this year

Tomorrow is Election Day—please vote if you haven’t already!—and there’s a good chance that politics has changed your office culture, whether you know it or not. Last week, my colleague Ernie Smith pointed to research from the American Psychological Association showing that more than two-thirds of Americans are likely to say that the upcoming presidential election is a significant source of stress, a leap from the 2016 election.

So, it’s perhaps inevitable that some of that stress is going to spill over into the office. (Or into the office Slack and Zoom chats.) After all, so many of the leading issues in the election have a direct impact on employers: healthcare, public health, equality, and employment itself. In the past, conventional wisdom has dictated that it’s best to put limits on political conversations at the office, for fear of stoking needless divisions and arguments among employees. (Plus, there are legal guidelines around political speech in the workplace.) But a different, more stressful time may require a different approach.

The moment is an opportunity for leaders to cultivate cohesion amid dissent, writes Rebecca Knight in Harvard Business Review. So for starters, resist the instinct to cut off political conversation entirely. (It’s not happening anyway: According to Glassdoor, 57 percent of employees have discussed politics at work). Instead, model the kind of behavior you want to see by setting some “rules of engagement.” Prioritize reflection and respect, Knight writes, and use disagreements as opportunities to find common ground.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Associations Now.

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