How To Lead When Employees Disagree With COVID Policies

Sometimes when you’re a leader you get to decide the rules of your workplace and sometimes you don’t. This is especially true during the COVID pandemic. While some leaders own or operate their own businesses and can set their own policies, many leaders work inside larger organizations that set policies that you and the members of your team may agree or disagree with.

So what do you do when your company sets a COVID policy on masks or vaccinations some or many of your employees disagree with? The key is to be human and focus on the bigger issues behind the opinions.

Here are my best tips taken from years of coaching leaders to talk to their employees about charged topics, whether that has to do with disagreements around strategy or big personalities in the workplace.

1) Get good at helping people feel heard –

Despite how strongly members of your team may express themselves in most instances, what they really want is to be heard. I can’t even tell you how many conflicts I’ve resolved between team members on professional or personal issues, by just listening to them and asking them if they feel like their point of view has been heard.

Listen carefully to what they have to say.
Then reflect that back to them as closely as you can.
Bonus points for letting them know their feelings make sense. (Which can be true whether you agree with their point of view or not)

2) Encourage people to share about underlying feelings and desires –

Often when it comes to divisive topics the biggest disagreements come into the right strategy to take. But if you look underneath those strategies the feelings and needs are often very similar.

On both sides of masking and vaccinations is a desire for safety, autonomy, and respect. If you can get team members to share the feelings and desires underneath their positions you can often find common ground.

3) Help team members think of themselves as leaders vs factions –

A leader is someone who chooses to be responsible for what is happening around them. If you encourage members of your team to think of themselves as leaders who need to both: create safety, as well as, make sure everyone can come to work, you may be surprised by the solutions they come up with.

4) Remind people that safety is always hard to achieve –

At the root of much of the anxiety people feel is a desire to be safe, but two different types of safe. Real safety is hard to create in the world. We take risks all the time.

Instead of playing the safety game with your team, talk about the risks they are and aren’t willing to take. And why those choices matter to them. By moving them away from puritan or moralistic thinking you may be able to help them make choices that feel better for them without becoming polarized.

Final Thoughts –

With divisive topics like COVID or politics it may seem easier to try and avoid talking about them at all, but a good leader understands the need for healthy debate and even conflict. If you can foster an environment where people are welcome to share their concerns with you and you help them talk out how they can move forward with empathy and consider all sides of an issue, not only will they feel less stressed, you’ll also be helping them develop key leadership and team working skills at the same time.


My Whole Team QUIT! And How To Let Go

I’ve been thinking a lot about the choice to let go of something. Hope, people I care about, how I want things to be…


I recently took Facebook off of my phone and Ipad. I rarely go on to check it, just to post and share.

This didn’t feel that hard to let go. I notice an urge to go back and check it sometimes, but generally I just don’t, it’s that simple. If I can survive the urge I stay with letting go.


Recently my amazing assistant told me she wasn’t happy. At first, I tried to figure out a way to get her to stay but I don’t want someone to work for me if they aren’t happy. So we agreed to give it the weekend.

Over the weekend I stayed up SUPER LATE working really hard out of fear and panic. But I eventually saw what I was doing. I relaxed. I accepted. I let go.

So on Monday when my other assistant said she was quitting too it was fine. I felt some fear and I accepted it. I ended up talking to the last remaining member of my team on Wednesday of that week and we got clear it was time for him to move on as well.

I let them go. I was scared. I was sad. But it just felt like what wanted to happen. I relaxed and let go.


There are a few things in my life I continuously struggle to let go.

The need to try really hard.
Remembering my ex.
Dreaming about my future partner.

All of these feel impossible to let go of. Especially in the moment.

Pushing really hard is easy for me. Life has often felt like a bare knuckle boxing match and I just need to punch my way through.

Over and over I see myself doing this and I let go, but it comes back again and again.
I’ve sort of given up on the idea that this will ever go away completely.

Every time I feel resistance, I feel sadness. Part of me wants to reminisce, part of me wants to let go, part of me wants to feel grief.

Slowly I let go but there’s often pain. Even in the clarity of the path ahead.

Finally I often dream or fantasize about who I might be with next.
Having children.
Making love.
Laughing together.
The simple feeling of peace waking up next to someone.

Again and again, I try to let these go.

These are especially difficult because the fantasies often feel really good.
Sometimes they’re painful because it makes me feel even more lonely now.

But slowly I let them go.


Moment to moment these things seem like they never move at all.
At times I feel overwhelmed and hopeless.

But when I look back I see them slowly shift and melt.

I work less hard than I used to.
I go long stretches without thinking about my ex.
I forget about the fantasies and am just here in my life.

In these moments patience is the hardest thing for me to muster
I want to let go faster.
Which generally has me hold on harder.

But slowly, gently. I am learning to let go.


Be With Complaints Like Rain

If you have a baby, it’s going to cry, and if you lead people, they are going to complain. This isn’t a diss on people.

It’s not that people are whiny, but quite the opposite. Our capacity to deal with tremendous challenges and adversity is incredible, but we also complain.

We complain because we’re not happy.
Because we don’t know what to do.
Because we feel like we don’t have power.
Because we want to be seen and loved and listened to.

The challenge for you as a leader is how to respond to these complaints.

“Yeah yeah I hear you”, without really listening
“This complaining is SO annoying”

But none of these will get you anywhere.

So instead, be with complaints like rain: let them tell you the weather and show you where new leadership is ready to grow, while also letting it roll off of you.

Rain isn’t personal. And even when it seems that way, complaints aren’t either.