Is there Post Election Conflict in Your Office?

Posted on November 18, 2016.

Soon after the election of Donald Trump, Grubhub's CEO, Matt Maloney sent an email asking Trump supporters to resign.  He quickly backtracked, but how would you feel if you worked there and voted for Trump? Are similar conversations going on in offices throughout America?

Up until now, I’ve tried to keep my political conversations to within a small circle of friends and family. I’ve avoided not only writing but reading the long diatribes on Facebook that reflect both sides of the battle.  When did Facebook stop being about your friend’s children, grandchildren and vacations? I’ll admit that I went a little crazy on Twitter, but quickly deleted a few of my more impassioned tweets.

The reality is that there’s a reason that voting ballots are secret. Our very democracy is built on our constitutional right to free speech and free election.  If you’re a manager and leader, or even a CEO, you have no right to disparage and threaten the employees in your businesses that don’t agree with you.  Those actions are dictatorial and the complete opposite of the rights our constitution guarantees.

So if you’re in a position of power and still having a hard time dealing with the results, here’s a few tips to keep your temper under control and keep your morale up:

·      Plan a charitable giving program. If you aren’t already doing so, engage your employees by having them focus on something other than the election or themselves.  There are many worthwhile organizations out there like Trees For Troops that provide for military families or The Holiday Project that provide visits to nursing homes and other places where people would otherwise be alone during the holidays.  The bottom line is the morale of your staff will increase when they can do something for someone else.

·      Plan a party.  The idea is not so much about the end result. It could be an elaborate event or just a potluck.  The idea is to bring together people that might be on the opposite end of the political spectrum and force them to work together on something that can be fun for everyone.  Creating a diverse team should help people quickly realize how well they can work together, despite their political leanings.

·      Reiterate your business goals.  Make it clear that political discussions should be conducted on their own time.  Your company still has business goals to achieve. Just like making it clear that work time spent on social media is not acceptable, political chatter should also be off limits.  Getting everyone re-focused on what is still their livelihood should hopefully put a quick end to so much non-productive activity.

Regardless of your politics, it never hurts to embrace diversity of thought in the workplace. While you may not want to hear the chatter, you should embrace the differences.  Besides, where would we all be if we surrounded ourselves with people that had the exact same mindset?

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, but like Dave Chappelle on SNL, I’m going to wish him luck and give him a chance. After all, it’s in all of our best interests that he succeeds.