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Strategies For Overcoming Post-Election Productivity Problems

By Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about “How The Presidential Campaign is Hurting Your Business”.

I think many of us are shocked by the results.

I posed the following questions on Oct. 31:

  • How are you managing this right now to meet employee needs and calm fears?
  • Are you ready for the emotional reactions that will manifest AFTER the election?
  • How are you managing this right now to meet employee needs and calm fears?
  • Are you ready for the emotional reactions that will manifest AFTER the election?

And now I’m checking back in to see if you are experiencing post-election productivity problems and how you are managing what feels like a tragedy and crisis for many.

A few days after the election we worked with a client who needed help with communication and empathy. We spent a full day with their management team giving them tools to dig through emotional triggers and learn how to listen to each other. I started the session with “I know it’s been an emotional week for many of you.” And one of the leaders said, “Please. Not politics.” He shut me down fast and I quickly jumped back in and said, “This is not about politics. This is just to validate that people may not feel like being here today and that’s okay.”

The day before that I met with a client who also reacted unexpectedly. I asked how he was doing (in general and not about the election). He looked at me like I was clueless and said, “I was fine until Tuesday.” It was now Friday and I had “moved on”, so the election wasn’t on my mind. But I quickly responded, “Right. Of course. How is your team doing and handling it?” And he said, “I don’t know. I’ve been keeping my door closed while I get through it.”

These were pivotal moments for me that this grief process is affecting everyone in different ways and even leaders need space to breathe. I still believe we need to get up and brush ourselves off to lead people through the pain. We have to set the example for healing, growth and progress.

Social media has been a pretty clear indicator that people are in a lot of pain and not quite “moving on”. Some are posting their feelings and pain so much, one has to wonder how they’re getting their jobs done. Some of those people might be YOUR people.

Again, I personally didn’t expect such a long (in my opinion) grieving process. For me personally, I’m personally experiencing anxiety over so many people having anxiety. It’s distracting and emotionally draining, especially as a business owner.

As a leader, I frankly can’t dwell on it for too long. I have a company to push forward, clients to please and employees to pay. I’ve also had to ignore the criticism from others about me saying “move on”, which has been perceived by some as “get over it”.

It’s challenging as a leader. No matter what your opinion is or how you are feeling about the most recent events, you must play neutral leader, coach and referee AND find a way to quietly take care of your own emotional and hierarchical needs.

People are going through the stages of grief. Similar to losing a loved one in death, I can most relate to this leadership challenge as a daughter who lost my father while attending to my mother who lost her spouse. It was highly painful and I need my mother to comfort ME, but she couldn’t. I had to step up to lead her through the process, handle funeral arrangements, call family members and make sure she was okay at the same time. There was no one to take care of ME. The adrenaline pushed me through the transition until I could see a therapist to help me sort out my emotions and needs. It wasn’t the optimal situation but it was what was necessary in the moment.

If you’re a leader you too need to move your companies forward and moving companies forward starts with moving your people forward.

How To Move Forward

  • Know and understand the stages of grief
  • Create open dialogues with your team to share their fears, and specifically what they fear they think they are going to lose (or have lost)
  • Find a way to empathize with and validate their fears (which are most likely linked to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that I referenced on October 31
  • Don’t patronize them and instead reassure them that they are in a safe place in their work environment
  • Communicate to all in the organization that all need to be practicing empathy, respect and kindness
  • Encourage employees to “be the change” and get involved with causes that will make the world a better place, which will ultimately give them a sense of purpose and power
  • Take care of yourself by finding other leaders outside of your organization to talk to and share with
  • OPEN YOUR DOOR!

-Gina Trimarco

If you’re feeling stuck, it’s time to pivot!

P.S. If you need some help with communications and empathy within your organization, feel free to reach out to me.

P.P.S. Want some inspiration from modern leaders who know how to shift their cultures to success? Listen to The Pivotal Leader podcast, now on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Store.

ABOUT THE POST AUTHOR

Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer, knows how toGina Trimarco, Pivot10 Results, Business Coach, Sales Trainer pivot to profits from problems and find joy through the process. Her philosophy is that performance pays and people need to be trained to perform on the stage of business to achieve results.

Gina successfully pivoted from her entertainment company Carolina Improv Company to spinning off Pivot10 Results, a strategic training and consulting firm that helps business teams to quickly adapt their communications and engagement skills in leadership, customer and sales to achieve results by providing them experiential learning tools and strategies.