With the election day less than a month away, people are now feeling the tension of political ties in the air more than ever before. Some people want their opinion to be heard, and some fear speaking out. One place that you may want to talk about politics is the workplace, with your colleagues and those with who you have become close friends. However, this can be tricky to do. Here are a few tips on how to talk about politics in the workplace.
Before you think about politics at work, make sure that you aren’t crossing any line or breaking any rules. Your company could have a policy in which talking about politics is not allowed, and you wouldn’t want to get fired over something you just weren’t aware wasn’t allowed. Also, see what people’s opinions are about talking about politics. You’ll want to gauge the overall comfort level of your colleagues.
Make sure that you are looking at current events and know the facts behind your opinions. You don’t want to look like you don’t know what you are talking about, because it may change how your colleagues look at you. For the most part, they know you from how you do your job and how you interact with everyone in a professional manner. Talking about politics opens a new side to who you are, and not knowing facts or current events could make the discussion less productive.
Never at any point in time during your talk about politics should you deviate from a professional manner. You are at work, and you should know how to act and what is appropriate and what is not. Uphold the standard of a person in your profession and walk the line with caution. Talking about politics can get emotional and polarizing, restrain from acting in a manner that may put your job in jeopardy.
As passionate as you may be about certain subjects, keep your emotions out of the conversation. The only way to talk about politics in the workplace is to talk based on facts and moral opinions. Political discord is good because you get another opinion. However, it could ruin your relationship with the person you are talking to. Do not get hot-headed, do not bring in assumptions about the other person because of their opinion or alliance to a political party.
The best thing about political discussion and discord is that you get to hear an opinion that may be different that you own. You may learn something new or hear something that might change your mind in the context coming from someone you have respect for. Listen, sit back, and hear what they have to say even though you may disagree. You have to respect your co-workers because they are people you work with and see every day. Make sure that the person you are talking to feels heard and that their opinions matter. These are important to do not only when talking about politics, but in everyday conversations, it’s how you maintain strong relationships, especially at work.
Try to scope out what other people think before talking to them. You wouldn’t want to bring up a subject to someone they may find touchy or not want to talk about. Know your audience. It might be wise to find out their political affiliation so you what you could be getting yourself into when talking to them. Also, respect if some people do not want to share their political beliefs in the workplace and want to keep it to themselves.
People often think that their opinions are right, that their moral compass is correct when, in fact, opinions are completely subjective. If you have an opposing opinion to someone, they may find it offensive that you disagree. Our opinions are often linked with our livelihood, and if you disagree with the way someone lives their lives, they will likely feel hurt. That’s why people get so defensive when they talk about politics, because in everyone’s mind, what they believe directly affects them and who they are. In the end, just be careful with what you say and know who you are talking to. Offending a co-worker or someone with higher authority could have bad repercussions.
Many people believe that talking about politics in the workplace or around people you work with is dangerous and bad for a healthy work environment. Which to a degree, those people are right. If you talk about politics in the wrong way, being one-sided, hot-headed, and not aware of who you are talking to, it can make a work environment hostile and unable to be productive due to personal strife. As long as you follow your workplace guidelines and be generally cautious, then there is nothing wrong with talking about it. People believe there are high stakes in this election on both sides, and it’s important to talk about what you believe so that you know who to vote for on November 3rd.
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