Wednesday, May 12, 2021

When it comes to the Capitol Riots, we see it differently

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President Trump is gone. A new administration begins. But if you are a leader grappling with the aftermath of the “frank conversations” you may have had about the January 6 riots on the U.S. Capitol and the events leading up to them, you may still be in the thick of it. things.

You’re not alone.

“We’ve hit a nerve here,” says Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place To Work, and author of a riots blog post titled Don’t see yourself as a leader for all if you don’t do these things today. In it, he offered great advice on how to discuss the riot with employees with important framing: “To be honest I’m still dealing with what I saw, but I’m sure. one thing: now is not the time for leaders to be silent. ”

Obviously, people spoke right away.

His blog post saw record traffic, but also a record number of unsubscribes and angry emails – followed by phone calls – which were far more negative than the usual back and forth calls he receives to fight. systemic racism at the corporate level. He suspects the reaction was due to the leadersin this case, mostly white and republicanbe invited to re-evaluate the path they identify oneself in a political context. “In my experience, they can say things about social justice… that you’re going to increase the representation… and say all of those things that seem bold and courageous at the time,” Bush says. “But the reality is that you, your team and your board have never had to do anything very different. This makes it a third moment of rail.

He stays true to his post and his advice but adds an important reminder. When you talk about the riot and the events leading up to it, “describe whatyouseen on the Capitol Steps and talk about how you know others saw it differently. Recognize that a different perspective can lower the temperature and restore an element of empathy, even in a divided workplace.

“Transformational leaders seek to influence others,” he says. “Unfortunately, a lot of them are trying to change other people’s minds, which you know is a big challenge.” But the job now is to encourage people to stay connected with the leaders, their peers, and the values ​​that govern your work together. While this can be a particularly busy time because (mostly) white people are upset, the way forward is the same. Find ways to encourage deep soul-searching as a leadership practice. “Are you ready for a moment to question what you believe and why you believe it?” he says. “Are you ready to see how your lived experiences affect what you see and what you believe?” Next, the empathy piece. “Are you prepared to think about how other people you work with, based on their lived experiences, see exactly the same thing differently?”

For leaders under siege: Don’t give up, Bush says, but consider how you can continue to use the “see it differently” framework to stay the course.

“You know, CEOs are magicians, all of them,” he says. “It’s a gift they have. That’s why they occupy this seat. They can make people believe in something that doesn’t even exist yet. No product or code has been created or written and they can talk about a vision and people believe in it. “

It is difficult for him to analyze why people believe the American election was stolen, he says. Very difficult. “I know they certainly believe it without facts or data.” But, he says, there are a lot of other things that people believe are difficult to analyze, and it’s time to go back. “Some people believe what they think about women, people of color, and especially black people, that they lower the bar. in terms of talent in the workplace, that performance gaps are personal gaps, and [people of color] feel that we have to accept this. We have to find a way to talk about all of this. “

This is where a little executive magic can really help. “What is your vision of a workplace where people can examine what they believe and why they believe it with openness, curiosity and respect?” he asks. “It’s a gift we all need now.”

Ellen McGirt
@ellmcgirt
Ellen.McGirt@fortune.com



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