A few weeks ago, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal called Barry-Wehmiller’s corporate office in St. Louis. She wanted to know what we were doing about conflict in our plants and workspaces around the election.
Barry-Wehmiller is a global company with locations around the world, but the core of our business is in the U.S. As we have acquired — or adopted — companies, teammates in Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and many other states, have become part of our family. Naturally, our people have a wide range of views, backgrounds and socioeconomic situations.
Honestly, though, we really didn’t have much to say to the reporter. Not that some conflict or tension doesn’t exist — people are people after all.
How should we handle that conflict? As we strive to in most situations: just as a caring family would. We would encourage our people to listen to each other. Throughout our companies that is one thing on which we place a lot of emphasis. We even teach a class on listening through our Barry-Wehmiller University.
Before and after Election Day, there have been a wide-range of emotions about our current political climate. Because tensions are running so high right now, this Thanksgiving could be a time when families are divided, undermining the reason we are gathering in the first place.
If there’s one thing we should all keep in mind this Thanksgiving, it’s to remember to listen. Listen to your family, your friends, to anyone you encounter this holiday season. It’s not just a trite, simplistic solution to conflict. When you listen to another person, really listen to them, you are validating them. You are helping them feel like they matter. It completely changes the nature of the conversation and of our understanding of each other.
I’d like to share a post I wrote two years ago during a time of turmoil and tension in St. Louis. I feel just as strongly about the transformative power of listening now as I did then. Read it here: Moving the Needle