Practicing effective leadership and continuously demonstrating a positive, professional attitude is extremely important in today’s tenuous times.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted everyone; however, the continued shortage of health care workers and has brought many more challenges to employees and employers.
Employees are struggling to maintain composure especially when they are exhausted and frustrated from additional workloads. In addition to the staff shortage, COVID concerns, politics and controversial issues are causing conflicts and additional stress within the workplace and at home.
It is hard to remain positive when faced with these challenges, and even harder when faced with controversial discussions. Of course, it is very difficult to ignore discussions about these issues when it is in the news, on social media and almost shoved into our daily routines. We know that these conversations should not be done during work hours. However, most people have opinions about these issues, and some find it necessary to express their views at work. This often causes controversy and hostile feelings.
The workplace is not the place to express personal viewpoints regarding COVID-19 immunizations, politics or controversial issues. This often leads to conflicts and can manifest into a very contentious and divisive work environment.
So, how do you deal with this situation when faced with it during work hours? People deal with it in many ways. However, the best approach is to remain professional and don’t allow yourself to get pulled into any controversial discussions during the workday. Even if you have strong feelings or beliefs, don’t get caught up in confrontational and divisive discussions. Either walk away or excuse yourself from the discussion.
You should also use conflict management skills that you have learned and practiced during your career. We all possess these skills. It is important to remain professional and maintain composure, especially during work hours. My response to political, COVID-19 or even religious discussions is, “I prefer to remain positive and not get into discussions regarding these issues. We all have our own opinion, so please respect my privacy and leave me out of any discussions about this. I respect your opinion, so please respect mine.”
It is especially important to remain professional and positive during your work hours. It is also very important not to respond to political or COVID-19 comments plastered on social media.
If you enjoy getting on social media sites, keep it in mind that anything posted may come back to haunt you. Human resources and hiring professionals look at your social media profiles to get a picture of your personality and how you respond and react to comments and discussions on the many social media platforms. Even older comments may affect you for promotions or new opportunities.
If you have any negative comments or confrontational discussions on any of the social media platforms, consider removing them from your profile. The comments may still be out there, but at first glance your profile will at least look better.
Continuously display the positive and professional side of yourself. Social media platforms are a great place to share your knowledge and expertise and demonstrate your professionalism. However, these sites are not the place to vent your frustrations (about anything) or get into controversial discussions. Join professional discussions and groups, and provide input regarding questions or requests for assistance about technical issues that individuals may have. Of course, you are doing this during non-duty hours and not during your work hours. The exception to this is if you need immediate help regarding an equipment or parts query. Social media groups often help peers find answers to equipment failures or problems.
Be the ultimate professional and set an example for others to follow.
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