VOL. 132 | NO. 33 | Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Opposing Views at Work
BY ANGELA COPELAND
2017 has certainly started off on an interesting foot. I don’t know about you, but social media used to be a relaxing activity where I learned about engagements, saw baby photos and watched cat videos. Lately, it’s filled with opposing views and tension – on all sides of every issue. It’s exhausting.
I have friends on both sides of the aisle, and some from other aisles, too. I see them thoughtfully speaking out about their concerns. Regardless of your views, there’s a decent chance the past few months have not been a cakewalk.
And, the level of frustration we’ve all been experiencing can sometimes lead us to reevaluate things in our lives. I know a number of people who are cleaning out their Facebook friends list – eliminating anyone who doesn’t share their perspectives. And more than before, job seekers are scrutinizing the personal values of their future boss and coworkers. They’re not sure they want to work with people who have different viewpoints than theirs.
The question becomes – where do we draw the line? After all, we spend eight waking hours a day at work. I can relate to this type of struggle myself. In a similar way, I have shied away from industries that make products or services I’m not completely comfortable with for one reason or another.
As you can imagine, deciding where to work is a very personal decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, with that said, you may want to weigh how much your personal views play into the work you do. If you didn’t know your boss had an opposing view to you, would it still matter? Could you still do your work?
The other thing I’d like to consider is this. There was once a time when we were more open to making friends with those who are different than we are. I really liked that time. It allowed me to grow up in a place like Oklahoma and move to places like New York and California where I met people who grew up with very different ideas than I did. This openness has allowed me to make close friends from cities all over the U.S. and countries all over the world. I rarely meet someone with whom I agree on every issue. But, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends, or that I can’t work to have a better understanding of their perspectives.
However, with all the time we spend there, work is something we’re practically married to. And, if it just doesn’t work for you to work with someone with values that are different than yours, I get it.
But, wouldn’t it be great to put these frustrating thoughts on a shelf for just a few hours each day, to focus just on work? Perhaps we could make a few great things happens for eight hours each day with a diverse team of people, who all bring different views and strengths to the table.
Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.