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How to Keep Post-Election Conflicts Out of the Workplace

How to Keep Post-Election Conflicts Out of the Workplace
From Recruiter - November 22, 2016

The surprising (to some) election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States has led to widespread protestsand an even deeper division between the left and the right in American politics.

And given that it seems everyone has a strong opinion about the outcome of this election, regardless of which candidate they supported, the post-election tension is poised to seep into every aspect of lifeincluding the workplace.

In the days immediately following Trumps win, Elaine Varelas, managing partner at career management firm Keystone Partners, saw political conflict creeping its way into her company. Varelas works in the very blue state of Massachusetts, and she noticedher coworkers assuming that everyone in the office felt the same way about the election.

There was a perception that everybody knew how everyone else voted, Varelas says. There was this malaise, this sadness, like How could this happen? People were being asked if they were wearing black on purpose. Unfortunately, people made assumptions about how everyone voted, which was really difficult for people who were trying not to address anything about the election.

While this kind of response isnt aggressive, assumptions can quickly escalate into shouting matchesand team cohesion can disintegratein the ensuing melee.

Thats why Varelass No. 1 piece of advice in these trying times is Dont poke the bear.

In other words: Dont even bring the subject of voting up at work.

People feel strongly about how they voted and about who their candidate was, Varelas says. Nobody needs an education from their work colleagues. If they want to be educated, they will go to other sources.

The election is over. Its too late to sway any votesand, really, thats not exactly an appropriate workplace activity at any time. And simply attacking ones coworkers for voting differently may feel cathartic at the time, but everyones going to regret what they said in the heat of the moment.

Best, then, to leave politics for life outside the office.



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