This political season has amplified a clear division in our country between US and THEM.

The ‘US’s and the ‘THEM’s of our country are both experiencing great pain. From pain comes fear, and from fear, anger. US versus THEM.

As coaches and consultants, we have quite a bit of expertise working with and understanding people, and the thing we have seen over and over is that everyone wants to be seen and heard. Everyone. People want to know that their experience is respected and understood by others. 

With everything that’s coming at us daily, it can be very difficult to pause long enough to really understand what it’s like for other people—to have empathy for their experience—especially when their experience is vastly different from our own. Without that empathy, people move to US versus THEM.

You don’t need to look too far back into history to see the perils of US vs. THEM.

Remember, below the disagreements, there are many things we share with one another as humans. Before party, before state, and before country, we are simply human: we love our children; we have the need for food, shelter, safety, and the opportunity to pursue meaningful work; we all laugh and we all grieve.  Both US and THEM.

As a country, we are rocked by the division that has been illuminated, and by the challenges of living in the global economy. We have to take a breath, pause, and remember that we’re all trying to claim our place in a world that is changing fast, because belonging is a human need. For US and for THEM.

As a leader in your life, you have the opportunity to demonstrate a respect for difference, an acknowledgement of people’s fears, and an invitation to take action from your best self. Leadership is your willingness to influence others and (just as importantly) your willingness to be influenced by others, so that you can invite the people in your life to create rather than destroy.

As a leader, whether at an office or in your home, you know that when people remain divided, it spirals into blame and fear. US versus THEM. 

The strongest families and businesses (and nations) get things done when they work together for a common vision with the belief that everyone has something to offer.

To be a powerful leader in today’s world means that we each must avoid treating people like THEM for in reality they are also US.

We know people are struggling. If we can help—you individually, your team, or your business—let us know. These times are painful, yes, but they are also rich with possibility.

Be well,

Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting