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Friday, November 24, 2017

Navigating Political Talk at Work

David W. Ballard
Harvard Business Review
Originally posted March 2, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Managers should recognize that the current political environment could be having an effect on people, especially if they’re talking about it in the office. Be aware of employees’ stress levels, share information about benefits and resources that are available to help support them, and encourage appropriate use of your company’s employee assistance program, mental health benefits, flexible work arrangements, and workplace wellness activities that can help people stay healthy and functioning at their best.

Senior leaders and supervisors can communicate a powerful message by modeling the behavior and actions they’re trying to promote in the organization. By demonstrating civility and respect, actively using available support resources, participating in organizational activities, and managing their own stress levels in healthy ways, business leaders can back their words with actions that show they are serious about creating a healthy work environment.

Focusing on common goals and shared values is another way to bring people together despite their differences. As a manager, set clear goals for your team and focus people on working together toward common objectives. When political turmoil is creating tension and distraction, focusing on the work and accomplishing something together may be a welcome reprieve.

Finally, step in if things get too heated. If the current political climate is negatively affecting an employee’s job performance, address the issue before it creates a bigger problem. Provide the necessary feedback, work with the employee to create a plan, and point them to available resources that might help. When tensions turn into conflicts between coworkers, counsel employees on any relevant policies related to harassment or incivility, help them find ways to work together, and involve human resources as needed.

The article is here.