What does the election outcome have to do with your organization and the work that needs to get done? A lot!
With the backdrop of an already disengaged workforce, many chose to further disengage immediately following the election. This impacts an organization’s productivity. Whether the people of your organization's guy won or woman lost, they are processing what this means. Leader, have you engaged, or is your head buried?
People are not machines and don’t check their thoughts and feelings at your door when they enter their offices. While some were elated, some were “mourning” the loss by Hillary, their scabs open and sore and any brush against them in the office, could ignite an outburst of pain. I heard both sides firsthand immediately following the election, “Let someone say something wrong to me!” “These folk need to man-up. They lost!” Both of these sentiments without guidance and support are counterproductive.
Among the two main parties, it was as if there were four candidates running. For DJT and HRC, there was the candidate supporters saw, and the candidate that the opposing side saw. There was what some saw as the most prepared person and first woman on the planet to lead the free world, yet others saw a criminal that was neither prepared nor capable of running our country unlike her own gang. There was the savvy businessman that would create jobs and “make America great again.” Yet, others saw a narcissistic, xenophobe that was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who had accomplished what anyone given a multi-million-dollar head start could achieve; four candidates.
Our ears and brains are powerful. They filter messaging looking for that which supports our own ideology. Nin said, “We don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.” We tend to read, watch and take in messages that resonate with our own existing thinking. Because we are moving through this day-by-day, people need the safe place and space to process what it all means. This includes in our organizations. Fact is, some of White America did not hear the messaging of our candidates the same as People of Color. Some men did not hear the messaging of pundits the same as women did. Uconscious bias? Gender bias? The effects of this election are impeding on the synapse in the brains of our employees that would otherwise be utilized to get their jobs done. The same messaging being heard differently by varying groups has the ability to permeate and impact the productivity of our organizations. As leaders, it is imperative that we help our employees to process this quickly, safely and inclusively, so that they can get back to the tasks at hand.
CEO of Kaiser Permanente, Bernard Tyson gets it. He shared a message he sent to the people of Kaiser. Without taking one side or the other, he shared his perspective. He let his voice be heard. This is leadership. Our teams are in search of our voice.
As leaders we can’t bury our heads in the sand and act as if there is nothing going on. Our teams are looking for our inclusive leadership; our insights on how we navigate. They are looking to hear from us on how we process the happenings of the day in a balanced and non-judgmental way. The proverbial line that used to exist between work and home is blurred and the people that we work with are looking for our support. Not to sway or direct, but to say, “I understand what you may be feeling, and you are in a safe place should you need to process.”
Need I remind you, the employee that feels their leader is interested in their personal lives and what they are dealing with is three times more engaged. 300% more engaged! You don’t have to agree. You needn’t celebrate or march with them. Simply hear them inclusively; take an interest. Let them hear you authentically and let them know that irrespective of what happens, we will all be OK.
I often ask my audiences, “What resume are you building?” That is to say, are you more concerned with your position and what you are or in your humanity, who you are? When we close our eyes for the last time on earth, others will remember us fondly. They won’t recollect on us being the best President, Director or Manager ever. They will however, remember how we touched them, how we made them feel, who we were in our humanity.
Again I ask this simple question, “What resume are you building?”