Politics at Work – Oh My!! My Three Key Take-Aways

Our country continues to get more divided and polarized around politics. Rhetoric continues to get more explosive as some politicians refer to their fellow Americans as scum and vermin. Not only are we getting divided around issues of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, but even current events such as the Israeli – Palestinian conflict are causing deep divisions. How are we to navigate this in workplaces where we are trying to teach respect for all, and valuing and leveraging our differences?

Here are my three key takeaways:

1) No matter where you are on the political spectrum, there are non-negotiables everyone in an organization must agree on. If you are working for an organization, you have to agree on the mission, vision, purpose and goals of the organization. That is what unites all diverse employees in any organizations. Everyone needs to be working together for the organization to achieve its goals and fulfill its mission.

In an inclusive environment, we can use our different ways of thinking to bring our creative ideas to the table.

2) Realize that people with a wide range of political views also have diverse ways of thinking about and analyzing issues and problems. At work, everyone should be around the table contributing their best ideas of how to improve the product, provide better customer service, win new customers, increase revenue, reduce expenses without compromising on quality, etc. When people can share ideas and listen to each other with open minds, and diverse view points come together in a respectful way, the best solution often emerges.

3) Focus on the positive contributions each unique person with their differences can bring to the at table. Because you see things differently than I do and think differently than I, you may see things I don’t see. You have perspectives and ideas that I may not have, and if I listen to you with an open mind, we can collaboratively arrive at a better place. Because you are different from me, you may be able to serve some of our clients and customers better than I can.

One final point, it is never acceptable to cross that line where you demonize and devalue a person because they are different from you. Once you call me stupid, or scum because I am different or have different viewpoints, all bets are off … you no longer have a place in the organization.