What unites and what divides


In a recent company kick-off activity (based on their fiscal year calendar) I said: “The color of your company logo is blue. You may have your political color preference, but your company color means the most to you in the long haul.”

After the heat and the hate of election season is over, you will still have to come back and work as a team, work together, and maintain your friendship. As a leader, you lead a more divided group of people than you ever imagined. Not only are they divided, but they are also angry. Their anger is fueled by social media, peer groups, friends, churches, and faith-based communities. And now they bring all this anger and hatred into the workplace. Left unattended, the divisions will grow deeper and wider. Your role is not to shirk your responsibility of leading and hope that “All these will go away one day.” The leader is to unite the people around a common cause. So, the question you ask is probably: “How can I do this?” Perhaps the following ideas may help:

1. Focus on your core and not on the crowd

Everyone who has a smartphone, tablet, or laptop usually makes their opinions known loudly and publicly. The leader tend to think that to unite everybody, a post, a speech, a memo, or preaching a sermon on the pulpit can address the issue, but this will not do. Start by uniting your core. “You hear from the fringe, but you lead from the core,” says leadership guru Carey Nieuwhof

2. Look at the math

What about the crowd? They are so loud, and they claim to speak for everyone (just because they are louder than everyone). A little look at the math can give you a better perspective. Loud is the volume of voice, do not ever mistake loud for large. Large is the number of warm bodies. Leaders are to listen to the voices of the people but not to engage angry voices that sow anger and hatred, causing catastrophic disruptions.

Nieuwhof says: generally speaking, human dynamics look something like this.

• 10% are opposed and loud (Opponents)

• 10% are audibly supportive and eager (Early Adopters)

• 30% are quietly supportive (Early Majority)

• 50% are quiet and neutral (Quiet Majority)

In other words, only 10% are typically opposed to the change you’re proposing, which means 90% aren’t. While that percentage might be momentarily higher, it’s likely not nearly as high as you feel.

3. Focus on the point of agreement and work on it

While some things and issues divide us, more things unite us. Work on what unites us, and this is how you can deescalate tension and build unity. We all have a lot of things in common. We have hopes and dreams, and we try our best to live a good life and provide the best for our families. These are many common grounds. Instead of having conversations about their views and opinions on politics, ask them how they are doing, how their kids are, what they struggle with, what their dreams are and what they need.

4. Go to the core and philosophy of the why

Do not assume that just because the economy has opened, it is business as usual because it is not. After two years of lock-up in the home, uncertainty and job security concerns increase. The constant barrage of negative news (real and fake) has made negativity creep into the mind space. The possible loss of a loved one or a friend who succumbed to the virus. And the latest highly charged political exercise, I can almost assume that many are now going through some PTSD or depression or something, and they vent through angry emotions.

My Level Up Leadership 2.0 Master Class participants now realize what I meant when I presented them with the reality they must face as leaders: this is the most Anxious Generation of them all, and they need to learn how to lead and deal with it.

Carey Nieuwhof says we usually focus our discussions on:

• WHAT are we going to do?

• HOW are we going to do it?

•HOW MUCH is it going to cost?

How and what divide, while why unite.

• Think about why we started this company, something you believe our company could help.

• How do we increase our commitment to our values and mission?

• What’s one of the greatest things you hope we can do together over these next few months?

Leaders need to be patient and understanding, but they still have to get themselves and their people to do things that matter most. And what matters most should matter now.



(Francis Kong runs his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership 2.0 Master Class Online this May 24-26. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)


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