Tracy Cote: Discussing Politics within the Office

If diversity is important to you, diversity of thinking is part of it. As an HR expert, I always recommend my management team to represent their perspective and at the same time model the acceptance for different perspectives. As a leader, it’s important to be transparent about what you stand for – and accept that not everyone shares your point of view.

In my current company, for example, we believe that #BLM was not a political problem, it was a human rights problem. To foster this perspective, we have hugged Juneteenth and brought in a variety of black speakers to share their experiences, and we are opening the word to anyone who wishes to attend to train and raise awareness.

However, we do not insist that every single employee participate in these discussions. Because I know that some people don’t want to or aren’t ready to.

Of course we have to navigate these waters carefully but openly. In any case, I’m not afraid to go there. I know that I can trip from time to time. That’s why it’s important to me to listen to my team as they help me with their feedback. Once you open the door, however, it cannot be closed. This means that it supports a wide variety of conversations as opposed to editing.

My goal is to work with leaders to create a safe space for the team by raising awareness, fostering connection and fostering mutual understanding. It is right to acknowledge the very important and real historical, sociopolitical issues of our time, and it also encourages engagement and deeper relationships. At this point it is just too critical to ignore.

With one perspective, I’m Tracy Cote.

Tracy Cote is the chief people officer for a global customer experience software company based in Daly City

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