Monday, October 17th, 2016
HOT TOPICS AT WORK
I have a position about hot topics at work. There are many and right now in The United States it is politics. Once upon a time, I wasn’t so clear and it caused problems. I wasn’t clear for myself and I wasn’t overt because of that. I lost a close relationship with a high potential leader by squelching his bold social political comments during a leadership retreat. In reality, I agreed with his position but it was a tributary discussion that was killing the main purpose of the session. (It was meant to be an informal after dinner discussion and wine was in the room, which didn’t help.)
So here is my stance on hot topics:
–People in the workplace can talk about hot topics outside of work topics informally while at work–cafeteria, hallway, bathrooms (oh yes).
–At a formal (even if casual) meeting the focus trumps any hot topic remarks. Leaders need to know how to gracefully kill the conversation. Not easy but necessary.
–The hot topics need to be handled respectfully all the time. Period.
–I don’t support pressure on any employee to vote in a particular way. If there is a policy/governmental issue it can be spelled out as to why it supports the business. Period.
–Humor is only good if it is good natured and not personal.
–Collaboration is essential in the workplace so anything that puts people truly at odds with one another at work is not OK. Monitor this, soothe this, set an example.
I don’t envy the task in this vituperative election year but I do think it is the CEO and top team’s accountability to keep a civil workplace. Period.