Talk to Your Team About Difficult World Events

Harvard Business Review

Posted  21 Views updated 6 days ago

So many Americans are infuriated and heartbroken by what occurred at the U.S. Capitol last week. When major events like this happen, with millions of people watching, spillover into the workplace is inevitable. As a leader, you may be unsure about how to discuss current events that elicit strong opinions and emotions.

But in all likelihood, your team wants to hear from you, so here are some tips to foster a healthy, honest, and timely dialogue. Start by creating space. Set aside time to talk about what's happened, but make sure that people know the conversation isn’t mandatory. You may say something like, "I want you to know that this is a safe environment to discuss what happened, how you feel about it, and what you may need."

Acknowledge how difficult it can be to process traumatic events, and that it's okay to be distracted. Affirm that you’ve taken in what people have to say, thank them for sharing, and if you're comfortable, share your own views.

Finally, reinforce your organization’s values, and offer support and resources to anyone who may be struggling. Done right, this approach will set the stage for the kind of strong manager-employee relationship that will help your team weather turbulent times in the future.


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