Politics, Virus, Economy, It’s a Lot to Process!
Whether or not you are typically interested in the news, right now it is hard to ignore the heated topics that are relentlessly thrust in front of us every day. So many negative conversations are in our face 24/7, that it’s a little difficult to get going in the morning. Trying to stay enthusiastic and motivated with so many concerns and differing viewpoints surrounding us is a challenge!
With all the time we spend at work with colleagues, it is natural that topics will come up that are on our minds. Everyone has their own opinion which should be respected. However, I don’t remember a time when I have seen so many people passionately and combatively at odds with each other in their communications. Families, friends, even spouses are having a hard time discussing almost anything without getting a little hot under the collar.
Should you have conversations about politics, Covid19 or the economy when you are at work?
If you work closely with your colleagues, it is likely that you have an idea of their opinions about current situations. Depending on how they lean, you have to decide whether it is productive to speak up and participate in these communications. Being brave with discussions has helped us make forward progress over the years. But, if you go into a conversation thinking that you will convert someone to your way of thinking, you will most certainly be disappointed. The best you can hope for is that your influence will encourage someone to stop and think about a different point of view. Maybe they will do a little research and consider other possibilities.
Communications with difficult messages
In any case, these types of communications can help you practice and improve your ability to have difficult conversations at work. Challenges such as turning down an employee’s idea, giving a negative performance review or even settling strategy disagreements in a team setting.
When conversations have difficult topics at work (or anywhere, really), here are some tools you can use to keep it positive:
1. Ask questions so that you get an idea of how the other person feels. Not snarky questions full of sarcasm. Instead, be sincere in your desire to understand.
2. Always be respectful and stay calm. It is difficult to keep your emotions in check when you feel strongly about your viewpoint, but remember, they feel just as strongly.
3. Try to find some commonality. Most people are going to have similar ideas of what success looks like for their family, community and country. The main disconnect is how we are going to get there. Listening to other’s opinions and communications on politics can be very enlightening and help you learn more about your colleagues.
4. Practice how to politely disengage if you start feeling frustrated or angry. Give yourself an out before you lose control and start a rant. It is easy (and true) to say, “I really need to get back to work now!”
No matter what your views are: Remember that you want to have a good working relationship with your colleagues. Work hard to keep conversations congenial and communications open.
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