Let’s take a moment to highlight some of the dos and don’ts of playing but not talking politics in the office. Respectfully shutting the conversation down is one of them.
We’ve all been told at some point to “not talk about politics at work” for obvious reasons. These very personal and contentious topics can turn what generally may be a pleasant, productive work environment into a polarized, unproductive one.
Our guest contributor, Domonique Revere, M.Ed., PHR, SHRM-CP, CPCC, offers her take on what to do and not to do this election season with your coworkers. You can find more information about Domonique and her company HRemedy Consulting here.
DON’T. Before you don your workspace and back with merchandise and campaign paraphernalia, consider whether it would offend or make someone uncomfortable. You may support “your candidate”; however, it should be done respectfully and on time.
DO. Be kind and courteous, and know when to back away. Lighthearted, water cooler conversations are great. They encourage collaboration and mutual respect but avoid confrontational questions and remarks regarding anything taboo.
DON’T. Tolerate disrespect and unprofessionalism. Instead, assume positive intent, meet people where they are, and be willing to educate, when or if you can. Having diverse thoughts, experiences, and perspectives makes the workplace rich and fun and keep us returning for more. These diverse thoughts, experiences, and perspectives may be frowned upon and taken out of context, so don’t take it personally…it’s a choice.
DON’T. Spill your guts and tell your life’s story. We all want to have great working relationships with our peers and bosses. Be careful not to get too comfortable. Topics that may cause friction of any kind should be off the table.
DO. Know how to respectfully shut them down. “I see you’re really passionate about the recent debate, and while I appreciate and value your opinion, this is a conversation I don’t feel comfortable engaging in. I respectfully ask that we change the subject.” Those that value your working relationship will understand and shift gears.
Talking politics can be tricky and sometimes unavoidable. However, it’s important to know the rules, set boundaries, and have the courage just to say “no“.
Lauren Williams, Founder & Principle Consultant
Lauren Williams utilizes her 20 years of expertise in HR to support companies by improving and enhancing their people skills/operations, maximizing a company’s full potential. With care and passion, she focuses intently on the employee experience and how to leverage a solid community-based company culture that encourages organic employee engagement, retention, and empowerment.
Hi, I'm Lauren
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