(Updated from 12/21/2016)
Remember the days when people didn’t talk about politics at work? Nance doesn’t either.
When she contributed to this article for the Tampa Bay Times, Donald Trump had just defeated Hillary Clinton in the United States Presidential election. People throughout the world were shocked by the results. Many women felt defeated. Many poor people, white men, Evangelical Christians, and more felt heard and empowered. It became increasing difficult for employers to deny that political discussions were occurring on their premises. Nance offered a few tips to help them facilitate the discussions, rather than forbid them and hope they didn’t occur.
More than five years later, she stands by her tips and recommends a review of the article. However, she now adds these additional tips:
- Co-create agreements about discussing explosive topics, such as abortion, gender equity, and unlawful discrimination in all its forms. Those agreements might include: the purpose of the discussions (e.g., learning from each other, connecting on new levels, contributing to solutions), where and when they are inappropriate, listening without disrespecting each other, and accepting that each person has different perspectives based on their lived experiences.
- Ensure any new conduct agreements align with current policies. If they do not, this is an opportunity to practice your persuasion skills. Work with decision-makers to create a culture that favors open discussion, even when it is messy. This culture shift can help employees share on other issues, too, that you don’t currently know are problems.
- Keep developing your own listening skills. You don’t have to agree with someone to listen to them, but the generous act of listening can have an enormously positive impact on your relationship–and your work achievements together.
Click here to review the article.