Dealing with employee unease during the presidential transition

As often happens during presidential transitions, some civil servants experience a great deal of anxiety, presenting a management challenge for career leaders.

Since the presidential election in November, the questions coming to career federal leaders from employees have been fast and furious. What promises will the president-elect act on? What will happen to my program? Will there be a hiring freeze or pay cuts? How will our mission and goals be affected? Will civil service rules be changed? What if I feel as though a personal part of my identity has come under attack?

With the wide range of questions, many are struggling with the right approach without having the conversations become too personal or political. After speaking with dozens of experienced leaders during the past few weeks, here is some of their collective wisdom.

As a starting point, it is important to listen and to be empathetic with employees who are feeling a bit lost amid the transition. Help them sort what is fact versus speculation and what is really bothering them. Is it about your agency's future management and policies? Is it a feeling of helplessness or something within their control? Are their concerns overblown?

This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.