HR Tip of the Week: Being Sensitive to Coworkers and Employees During an Election Year
Expressing political opinions in work and family time during an election year can be fraught with peril. So, we’ve created some tips to help you:
- Be prepared to listen. Engage your listening skills, as you hear debatable topics in the workplace. Try to understand the other side of issues. This helps to minimize misunderstandings.
- Acknowledge others’ positions. Try to understand them. Understand that reasonable people are able to see things from more than one perspective. Use I statements: “I’ve had concerns about how the election might affect health care because I have a daughter with a pre-existing condition,” or “I believe lawmaking is best left to legislators.”
- Understand that some people are feeling particularly vulnerable or emotional during this time. Try to create a soothing and accepting environment.
- Pause for a breather. If you sense a conversation is turning emotional, suggest a walk or a break for a cup of tea to help yourself cool down.
- Look for common ground. Most people want good jobs, health care that works for them, fair judges, and excellent schools. We just differ about how we can accomplish these goals. Avoid looking at the “other side” as being an impediment to your goals. Consider how your friends and family can work together to achieve common goals.
Who knows? You might find that the people you work with have some interesting ideas you hadn’t considered. Maybe you would enjoy working together for a common cause, like donating time together to a non-profit charity like the Kitchen or Convoy of Hope, challenging one another to raise funds for a worthy non-political cause like the Boys and Girls Clubs, or making quilts for Newborns in Need.
With so much dividing us, there is far more that unites us, if we are willing to look for it. Look for the good in others.