WHAT AN EMOTIONAL WEEK.
Regardless of which political candidate you supported in the recent United States election – YOU. HAVE. HAD. A. WEEK.
Your team is likely filled with extremely strong thoughts and emotions (both positive or negative or a confusing mix of both). And sometimes, it feels like tension is so high that it could explode if a pin poked it.
What is a Manager to do?
In times like these, one of the most important roles you play, as Manager, is to hold your team together.
Give your individual members of your team the space to talk it out, if and only if they want.
If they want to – choose to ask and actually listen without judgment. Something that often plagues us is judging (or assuming) and not asking, and really being curious about others and their thoughts.
The goal should not be to change opinions, but to allow people to really share their opinions /struggles /thoughts /challenges. These skills can be helpful when talking about the election and in your daily work.
Need a place to start?
First, make sure this is a 1:1 conversation.
Second, ideally this conversation takes place where the person you are talking to is comfortable and relaxed. This is not the time to corner them in the crowded break room or over the water cooler with their peers!
Third, the key is to NOT to argue or ‘fix’ their opinion if you don’t agree with their thoughts. This is the place to give your direct report the space to share their thoughts and ideas. In fact, don’t even say what you think unless they ask you.
Here are some conversation starters:
- I’ve noticed I haven’t heard your voice as often in meetings during the last week. What’s up?
- I remember you mentioning your support of [insert political candidate here that you’ve ACTUALLY heard them mention that they support]. What is intriguing to you about them?
- I’ve noticed recent posts you’ve made on (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat) around the election. What’s been coming up?
Choosing to mention what you are seeing (noticing or observing) and then asking a very open-ended question inviting your direct report’s opinion is extremely powerful.
This may be a new approach for you! So, try it out and let us know what you think!