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Nine Principles for People Leaders to Keep in Mind Throughout a Tumultuous 2024

March 26, 2024

As a highly contentious election year, 2024 stands to be as volatile and divisive as any period in recent memory. The following principles and guidance will help ensure people leaders are equipped and ready to support and engage with their teams through the potentially rocky period ahead.

Also check out our full Guidance for People Leaders, including worksheets and a checklist, for navigating this year.

Understand the Landscape

To understand the issues creating social division and key milestones that could serve as inflection points throughout the year, people leaders should take a quick scan of the news — from a balance of sources — every morning.

Be Accessible to the Team

To determine how employees are doing, people leaders should walk the halls or host 1:1 meetings with their teams, adopt an “open door” policy, encourage people to reach out when they need to talk, and practice active listening.

Stay Neutral

To remain balanced and refrain from bringing biases into workplace conversations, people leaders should pay attention to employees’ body language, ask how people are feeling while conversations are taking place and direct discussions accordingly.

Get Familiar with Policies and Helpful Resources

To socialize helpful resources to employees, people leaders should designate time to review and share their organization’s corporate values, code of conduct and relevant policies, and use these worksheets to guide their team’s ways of working.

Consider Situations that May Arise

To prepare for potential workplace disruptions, people leaders should consider the specific political and societal issues important to employees, as well as inflection points that may result in displays of emotion in the workplace.

Maintain Control of Conversations

To navigate discussions about politics or polarizing issues in the workplace, people leaders should reinforce that employees are expected to always treat each other with respect and that the workplace is a safe space where no one should feel marginalized or harassed, among other helpful reminders.

Appropriately Address Workplace Issues

To host productive conversations about employee behavior, people leaders should consult with HR before the conversation, seek to understand each person’s perspective and respectfully remove herself/himself from any conversation in which she/he feels threatened or unsafe.

Respond When the Team Needs Support

To determine how to address something that will upset one or more employees, people leaders should consider whether it is a topic appropriate for a team-wide discussion or better suited for 1:1 check-ins and, if needed, reference relevant employee benefits and programs that may be shared in those conversations.

Seek Additional Support

To effectively manage through what’s to come in 2024, people leaders should seek the input of peers they trust or colleagues in supporting functions, such as HR, Employee Communications, Legal and Labor Relations (if applicable).