Managing Through the 2020 Election Season: Check-ins Add-on

Published: October 14, 2020
Estimated reading time: 2 min


Everyone is dealing with the uncertainty, divisiveness, and urgency of this election season. We’re also all experiencing the stakes and effects of it differently. While some people may cope by throwing themselves into their work, others might be feeling overwhelmed, unfocused, or just plain checked out. Acknowledge what’s happening, hear how your people are doing, and inject purpose, empowerment, and support by using this add-on in your next check-in:

Component Sentence Starters & Sample Questions
(Re)state the big picture organizational purpose
  • Over the next few weeks/months, our job as a team/organization is to make sure that…
Acknowledge their contributions and align on their priorities
  • We wouldn’t be able to do this if it weren’t for the work you’re doing with…
  • Let’s get aligned on your priorities between now and [Election Day / the end of the year / Inauguration]. What do you think you need to get done? Here’s what I’m thinking…
Seek perspective
  • Is there anything we might be missing?
  • How might we/you/I approach our work differently to advance racial justice and equity?
  • Is there anything you’re observing about what our community and stakeholders need that I might be missing?
Offer support and remind them of their agency*
  • Let’s look at your calendar. What time off can you schedule between now and the end of the year?
  • Let’s look at your priorities. What can we take off your plate or put on the backburner to make room for your most critical work?
  • What do you need to take care of yourself? How can I support you?
[For those who manage staff] How you’ll prepare and align the staff you manage
  • I’d like to make sure you are able to support and get aligned with your direct reports around purpose, seek their perspective, and offer them support. Let’s talk about how you’ll do that…

*As you’re having these conversations, keep track of who is requesting or accepting offers of support and make sure there aren’t discrepancies that may result in inequities, particularly across racial and gender lines. It’s your job as the manager to consider the disparate impact that your Black and brown staff might be experiencing (and continue to experience) and make sure that support is accessed equitably.

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