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How to Help Your Team Prepare for the Turbulent Aftermath of the Election

How to Help Your Team Prepare for the Turbulent Aftermath of the Election

by | Oct 26, 2020 | By Karin Hurt and David Dye, Communication, Courageous Cultures |

Are your managers prepared to deal with the turbulent aftermath of the election?

Regardless of the election’s outcome, it’s smart to be ready for a firestorm of distracted, energized, frustrated, hopeful, distraught, elated, concerned, confused, uncertain, joyful, worried hearts and minds…

All exhaling those emotions at the same time. Onto one another.

“Leave your joys or troubles at the door,” just will not work.

4 Ways to Help Your Managers Prepare for the Aftermath of the Election

We’ve been talking to leaders about how they’re helping their teams prepare NOW. There are no easy answers, but here’s a start. What would you add?

1. Communicate expectations of respect and inclusion now.

Many leaders we’ve talked with have already launched their communication plan, reminding their teams of the need for deep respect now and after the election.

One client shared, “This is a diversity and inclusion issue, and we need to treat our communication with that level of sensitivity. We can’t assume we know where people are coming from or what they might be thinking.”

Chery Gegelman, who held a series of “conversation safaris” around the world after the last presidential election shared:

I would meet before election day and remind everyone that great teams are made up of people with different behavioral styles, life experiences, education levels, skills, and perspectives. And emphasize that each individual is valued, respected and cared for. And then discuss the best ways that team members can be understanding and supportive of each other after the results are in. Then after the election follow through on providing the support needed.

2. Support your managers with listening tools and skills.

One executive shared how he’s preparing his managers:

It can be really hard to hear some of the views coming from your team. Particularly if the views feel extreme or misguided from your perspective. Resist the urge to educate, argue or share your views. Instead, your job is to create a safe place for people to process if necessary without chiming in with your own views.

During times like this, one of the best approaches is to reflect to connect. It helps to remember that every person’s point of view is valid to them. Encourage your managers to reflect back and communicate what they are hearing.

For example: “It sounds like you are really frustrated” or “It seems like you’re really happy about this.”

These neutral statements don’t mean you agree. They do help the other person feel seen so you can move forward.

3. Create space.

One tech executive we spoke with said, “I’ve already instructed my team to cancel all meetings for that week. People will need time to process and we need to create that space.”

We’ve been thinking the same thing around here—and recently encouraged an executive group we’re working with to push back a program to later in the month.

Even if canceling all meetings feels extreme, encouraging more white space on the calendar that week should help your managers have time to connect with their teams. And, if possible, avoid making emotionally laden decisions while everyone’s already coming from a place of extreme joy or frustration.

Creating some extra space for one-on-one meetings can also be helpful to give people a minute to process in a safe place.

4. Consider the ripple effect.

And don’t underestimate the ripple effect for your global teams. In a recent LinkedIn conversation Karin started on the subject, Dr. Phil Allcock, who runs a learning company in the UK shared, “And it may not just be teams in the US who are affected by the outcome.”

The aftermath of the election is coming on top of a world already on edge. It’s a lot. For everyone. For many, even good news will come with the anxiety of “What now?”

Your turn

There are no easy answers. We would love to hear from you. What are you doing to help your managers prepare for the aftermath of the election?


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Karin Hurt and David Dye

Karin Hurt and David Dye help human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results. As CEO and President of Let’s Grow Leaders, they are known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. Karin and David are the award-winning authors of five books including, Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. David Dye is a former executive and elected official. Karin and David are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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