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How to Unify Your Staff in Polarized Times

Association leaders should lead their staffs and their industries

It’s election season in an odd-numbered year, which means election season is a little less stressful for most people. My ballot this year involves no elected seats, just relatively pro forma and uncontested bond measures. No campaign signs crowd busy intersections near my home, which means there are no campaign signs around to be defaced.

This won’t last, though—midterm elections are coming next year. And the tensions around that should be a concern for anybody leading an association, even if your association doesn’t do advocacy. Americans are very contentious these days around hot-button topics like race, religion and politics, more so than most other nations.

A Pew Research study released last week found that Americans are more conflicted around social issues than other developed nations. Ninety percent said that there are strong or very strong conflict between people supporting different political parties; nearly 60 percent say people disagree on basic facts underlying social issues.

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