How can I ease the post-Brexit office tension?

The referendum has soured the mood at work. As a leader you need to show Brexiters and Remainers they are respected.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 24 Nov 2016

Q: I run a PR agency with 15 staff. Opinion was split over Brexit and it caused a lot of tension in the office. Two members of staff still aren't talking to each other. Something needs to be done to manage the Brexit fallout. Any advice?

Jeremy Bullmore says: As a basic requirement, people working in PR should be able to understand the views and behaviour of the general public, even when - perhaps particularly when - those views differ markedly from their own. The country was split more-or-less down the middle over Brexit - and your agency would do well to remember that fact.

Your staff members who voted to Remain may well behave as if they are in the majority.

Well, they're not. And they probably believe that those who voted to leave are somehow pig-ignorant cretins; which is a perfect expression of that very urban sense of superiority against which more than half the country rebelled. You and your clients should be pleased that you have members of staff who have a natural affinity with both Stayers and Splitters. You need them both, so respect them both and tell them that you do.

It makes you a more balanced and professional agency. If you make it absolutely clear that you respect the views of both camps, it should greatly increase the chances of their respecting each other's.

Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at editorial@managementtoday.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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