Politics At Work-Should You Keep Quiet?
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. 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. Families, friends, even spouses are having a hard time discussing politics without getting a little hot under the collar.
To discuss or not discuss politics at work
If you work closely with your colleagues, it is likely that you have an idea of their politics. 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 politics 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.
Communicating difficult messages
In any case, these types of conversations can help you practice and improve your ability to communicate other difficult messages at work. Challenges such as turning down an employee’s idea, giving a difficult performance review or even settling strategy disagreements in a team setting.
If you are going to discuss politics or other difficult topics, 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 about politics. 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 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 politics are: EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE CANDIDATES and ISSUES THEN VOTE!
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