Five Tips to Discuss Politics in the Workplace
The age old truisms still stand. Religion and politics are two of the most dangerous things to talk about with others, anywhere, including at the office. We all hold personal convictions about those, and you simply can't win if you have conversations about politics, in the wrong way, in the workplace.
If someone else raises the topic of politics at work, and asks for your response, follow these five tips for turning a slippery slope into an opportunity to connect with your colleagues:
1. Don't gloat. If your preferred candidates won the election, great. Bask in the thrill of backing the winning horse . privately. Refrain from expressing your joy on company time or in the workplace. Your colleagues' feelings may not reflect your own, so be courteous and respect their sensitivities.
2. Don't whine. The election is over. The arguments are over. Now put it all behind you, and move on. If your conversational partner won't (or can't) move on yet, then.
3. Don't talk about content. Talk about process. That is, stay away from the philosophical or practical differences you may have with your co-worker, or the candidate or the party they support. Focus, instead, on the way the campaign was conducted, the way a candidate presented him/herself (the candidates' speaking and messaging styles, successes, and shortcomings; negative ads; money spent on the campaigns, etc.). Focus on the process of the campaign, and how it was conducted and observed by others.
4. Focus on the positive. Concentrate on the future, and support the winning candidates, whether they got your vote or not. America is the greatest democracy on the planet, and freedom of speech is a cornerstone of the democracy. Use it. Accept it. Respect it. Don't abuse it or refuse it.
5. And remember that workplace communication isn't all about what you say when you're at the office anymore. Smiling politely at work but posting political diatribes on social networks isn't going to help anyone - least of all, you.
Talking about politics in the wrong way can threaten relationships and cause harm to companies - and to careers. Talking about politics in the right way, however, can build bridges and strengthen relationships. The choice is yours.
By Dr. Dennis Becker, CEO , Principal and Senior Coaching Partner of Brookline, Massachusetts-based The Speech Improvement Company. Visit him online at www.speechimprovement.com
* The views of Opinion writers do not necessarily reflect the views of NewsBlaze
Related Opinions News