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Tips for Showing Up to Lead through the Election

One thing we have to do in leadership is keep showing up: through collective struggle, during personal hardship, and – as this year has shown us – in the midst of uncertainty.

Today is a day that calls us to show up. I’m holding you all close because I know it is hard. Uncertainty takes a particularly wearing sort of toll. It awakens and makes space for all of our unchecked (and valid) fears and anxieties. It can wear us down, slowly and sneakily.

You may or may not be feeling personally at risk during this time of election uncertainty and Trump’s efforts to manufacture chaos (and possibly violence) by prematurely declaring victory. Regardless, please know that many in your community are.

Today (and the days/weeks to come) is an opportunity. Not an opportunity to “fix it.” None of us can fix this. What we can do is show up with love, care, grace, and intention for our team and community – and with the unwavering message of our commitment to justice, safety, and power in our communities.  

Recently, my friend and colleague, Adana Protonentis, and I had a live conversation on Instagram about cultivating a culture of care during this election season (and beyond). Here are some ideas we shared for you to consider this week:

  1. Take care of yourself. Drink water, stretch, get fresh air, check in and connect with your loved ones.
  2. Lean on the resources you have. Whatever benefits your organization already offers, make them available and accessible. Whether it’s mental health days, employee resource groups/programs, safety planning, PTO, or access to mental health support, (re)share the information and encourage your team to access what they need.
  3. Give as much space as possible for your team members to take the time they need– whether they need to unplug or find connection with each other. Consider time off, breaks, and/or extra flexibility.
  4. Create optional time for your team to connect. Resist the desire to orchestrate the “perfect” gathering. Let it be what it is – let people show up (even virtually) just as they are.
  5. Support affinity groups in your organization. If desired by your team members, allow space for  BIPOC employees, LGBTQIA+ employees, immigrant employees, and/or disabled employees to connect with one another in protected space.
  6. Start a conversation about community care. Talk with your team about informal ways you can care for one another through hardship and uncertainty. Capture what employees share they would like to offer, as well as what they need, so they can access it at any time. Remember – there is no hierarchy in community care. You can start the conversation, but it belongs to everyone.
  7. Be vulnerable. Tell your team how you feel. Don’t pretend to have the answers or be able to make things better. Be human.
  8. Resist making assumptions. Everyone will need and feel something different. Give the space and support for folx to show up as they are and access what they need. Don’t hover.
  9. Make a statement. Your community is listening. In this moment, you have a choice for how you will show up. How will your values shine through? How can you reinforce your commitment to the communities you serve? There is no perfect message – speak from the heart.
  10. Take care of yourself, again, all day. Repeat, every day.

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