Duke Executive Education

Addressing Sensitive Topics, a perspective from our dean

When volatile societal issues such as racism or sexual harassment infiltrate the work environment, it's to be expected that the emotional reactions we have to these issues will also permeate our day-to-day work lives. These negative emotions seem to be affecting employees more now than they ever have previously. Compounding the problem is that open discussions about politics, race, or other social divides have rarely been encouraged at work, leaving business leaders uncertain about how to address them.

Many competent, confident leaders have shied away from dealing with these topics directly, concerned that the sensitivity of the issue could create barriers and obstacles they may not full appreciate, and which they may not handle appropriately.

Bill Boulding, dean of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, offers a different perspective, shared in the Harvard Business Review, about how to deal effectively with sensitive topics in a way that builds, rather than breaks connections. Download the Harvard Business Review article authored by Dean Boulding.

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