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Politics and Work

Whew. The election is over. The campaign advertising has stopped. Back to work we go…

Don’t get me wrong. I am very grateful to live in the United States – a republic where the people elect their leaders. I have never seen a better system of government in my travels around the world. I believe our Constitution set up an amazing process for our citizens to govern themselves. And I’m delighted that every adult in America had the opportunity to vote their views last week. That is GREAT!

But I am tired of the negative, mean-spirited, hostile conversations taking place at work, at dinner, and on social media. I recently heard a person say to another, “I’m not sure I can be your friend if you vote for that candidate.” Really? Is that where we are? Our relationships are second to our politics?

Last week I traveled to a Midwest city and enjoyed dinner with my cousins and my aunt and uncle – it was so good to see them. We’ve grown up in a large, extended, family – with family members living in at least 10 states. And yes, we have family affiliated with both political parties.

Our family is like all families – we have imperfections and quirks. But somehow we have managed to love each other over the years. And despite our political differences, we have shared incredible memories at family reunions, weddings, camping trips, retirement parties, backyard BBQs, and funerals. We drive hundreds of miles every year to see each other. And not just at the holidays….

Yes, on occasion we have spirited political discussions in our family – but no one has ever stormed out of the room and swore to never speak to the other again. Love has prevailed. Not a syrupy or fake love – a real love. Love that says – you and I see things differently – but it doesn’t prevent me from caring deeply about you, wanting to be with you, and sharing life together.

So here is my pointed question:

Could we bring this family point of view to our workplaces?

Is it possible, that we could set aside political differences at work and be a role model for how to love others who have different views from our own? Could we be happy to see one another in the morning? Could we work side by side to advance the purpose of our companies? Could we ask each other about our families, share our ups and downs, and offer support when things get tough? Could we eat lunch together and laugh at what our kids or grand kids said at the dinner table last night? Could we notice and celebrate each other’s accomplishments?

When we struggle with our different views, could we draw on loving behaviors and offer each other patience, kindness, mercy, and grace? Could we ask questions of curiosity to better understand each other? Could we do our best to avoid arrogance, rudeness, resentfulness, and irritability?

If we call ourselves dare to serve leaders – could we be an example in our workplaces – of people who choose to serve our colleagues well, even with our differences?

I’m counting on you, my friends.

Let’s serve each other well.