As the Donald Trump as President experience reaches its second week, one of the big issues on the table is whether your employees expect you as a leader to take a stand related to your views on the recent policy, actions and tweet activity of our new commander in chief.
There's really 3 decisions you can make:
--Come out in support (good luck with that), or
--Treat it as you always have - not mentioning anything as a company leader related to political policy, because let's face it - you never have and word is you have a few things on your plate.
Still, it's important to note (as John Sumser recently identified) some things have changed in the world related to employment branding specifically related to position on policy. Greatcompany.org is a good example of a small site looking to celebrate companies opposed the recent Executive Order on Immigration, with another goal of shaming big companies that haven't taken a position.
It's a grown up world. Some companies, especially those in specific geographical locations (what up, Bay Area) have an easy choice. They're on record as being opposed to the policies - the policies threaten much of their talent strategy and just as importantly, their employee base expects them to take a stand vs Trump. For everyone else, it's not so simple.
I think there's two decisions in play here:
- If you're a company leader, do you take a stand, either overall that Trump's a bad guy or specific policies are bad?
- If you're a manager of people/a team, do you take a stand and tell your employees what you think - either way (in support of Trump policies or not)
For the vast, vast majority of companies, it's pretty simple. Taking stands equal blowback from customers (almost half Trump voters, half voted DNC) and that logic follows to most of our employee bases.
I'm more interested in the manager of people approach. Again, the vast majority of managers of people are going to have mixed teams with a variety of viewpoints. If I'm a leader of a company, I respect my manager's view on any of these issues. With that in mind, I'm also paying you as a manager to manage a complex team with various viewpoints - GOP, DNC and everything in between. The more you forcefully give you views on either side, you're polarizing your team and the result will be some folks disconnecting.
In short, I think managers get paid for balance. They can let the world (and direct reports) know how they feel, but they have to do it in a way that doesn't shut others with different views down.
Me? My view is that the executive order was short-sighted in that we treated current green card holders and other prime statuses as part of the herd. Can't treat people from other parts of the world who are effectively wearing a USA t-shirt like that. Big mistake. As far as the rest of the order, I'd like to wait and see.
I'm not marching on the airport with you as you seek to run the #deleteuber hashtag. Last time I checked, I thought even protesters deserved clean rides with no parking costs attached when they want to get to the airport.
But then again, I'm not boycotting Starbucks because Howard Shultz said he wants to hire 10,000 refugees. Hell, that sounds like some people I'd like to meet and a lot like the American dream.
I'm the center of America. You know, kind of like the composite of your company - and the team you manage.