With the elections coming up, help your team overcome political polarization. All too often, we assume that if someone holds different political beliefs, it means they don’t like us — and we can be quick to reciprocate that presumed feeling. This can cause rifts on a team with differing political views, but managers can help people see past their differences.
Here are three strategies to help your team practice empathy for those with whom they disagree and collaborate more effectively with colleagues across the political spectrum:
1) Build a culture of cooperation, not competition. For example, examine your incentive and evaluation structures, and remove any forced rankings or other systems that pit people against one another. Replacing them with systems that reward cooperation will create opportunities for employees to connect.
2) Encourage meaningful contact between groups. One of the best ways to overcome harmful stereotypes and assumptions is simply to spend more time getting to know people. Don’t force interactions, but find authentic ways to encourage vulnerability and trust between employees.
3) Create a safe environment for people to share their views. Model respect and compassion in political disagreements, demonstrating by example how to express potentially controversial views without alienating coworkers who may disagree.
How do you deal with different political views at the office? Please leave a comment below!