Jacqueline McClure, Genesis Background Screening Services
Whether or not you are typically interested in politics, right now it is hard to ignore the heated topics that are relentlessly thrust in front of us every day. With all the time we spend at work with colleagues, it is natural to want to discuss topics that are on our minds. And although everyone always has their own opinion which should be respected, I don’t remember a time when I have seen so many people passionately and combatively at odds with each other. Families, friends, even spouses are having a hard time discussing political issues without getting a little hot under the collar.
If you work closely with your colleagues, it is likely that you have an idea of how they feel politically. Depending on how they lean, you have to decide whether it is productive to speak up for something you believe in. Being brave in discussing ideas has helped us become more progressive 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. In any case, these types of conversations can help you practice and improve your ability to communicate other difficult messages at work such as having to turn down an employee’s idea, give a difficult performance review or strategy disagreements in a team setting.
If you are going to discuss politics or other difficult topics, there are some tools you can use to keep it positive:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 on this process can be very enlightening and help you learn more about your colleagues.
- 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!”
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Genesis Background Screening is not a law firm and provides our blogs for informational purposes only. These blogs should not be considered as a substitute for experienced legal advice. Any laws or regulations mentioned in our blogs need to be researched by your company and any questions you have need to be answered by your legal counsel to be sure your organization is within the law and compliant with regulations.