Well, it’s been a fascinating, turbulent week for all of us in the UK, with enough material to write a dozen blogs linked to conflict, negotiation skills, empathy and change management. My perception is, considering the ‘discussions’ on social media, that the referendum has been more divisive than any event in UK politics since the miners’ strikes of the 1980s, and perhaps longer.
You might think it’s dangerous to talk about politics here, but I believe that the referendum matters to us all, particularly in our role as managers, simply because of the strength of feeling it’s provoked and the behaviours it’s unleashed. The divisions between us, exposed by the referendum, could affect teamwork and the ability of every organisations’ people to work effectively together.
On top of that, individuals within your team could be feeling uncertain and wondering what the impact of the result will be on them in the longer term.
So what can you do?
Reuniting TeamsThere’s lots of great training activities in Managers' Library that could help you re-energise your team and re-focus people on the importance of teamwork in the workplace.
Here’s some training activities that might help you focus people on the need to work together and avoid a ‘them’ and ‘us’ mindset:
Regardless of how we voted on the day, there are still far more similarities between the vast majority of us than differences. My thought for the day is that the teams that thrive in challenging times are those that are able to put their differences aside professionally and work towards a shared goal they can all believe in. Creating or redefining a shared vision, focusing on shared values and the things that unite us, can be an energising way to re-bond a team.
You could use an exercise like Creative Brainstorming
, to kick start this process. Alternatively, try Creative Drawing
, but instead of asking them to depict a challenge, ask them to depict their vision of a successful future for your team and what that would look like.
Since the referendum, there have been many reports of increases in reported hate crime in the UK. This is deeply concerning and a reminder that we need to be vigilant and ensure a safe and comfortable working environment for all employees. There are two aspects to this: Understanding how those in a minority might feel, particularly in these uncertain times, and understanding the law.
If you have any concerns about behaviour within your team or your legal responsibilities, HR are there to help. Part of their role is to protect you as a manager and advise you what actions, if any, you need to take.