The news is buzzing with everything political and presidential these days. Therefore, it’s no surprise that disagreements may pop up in the workplace. So, what can you do to dodge these uncomfortable situations? Use these tips for keeping politics out of the office.
Do’s and Don’ts for Keeping Politics Out of the Office
- Know the Rules
Keep in mind, your First Amendment right to free speech isn’t necessarily protected in the workplace. Laws vary by state. Yet, in many cases, your boss could ask you to remove a political poster and be completely within his/her rights. Before you ruffle any feathers, check your employee handbook to see what is and isn’t allowed.
- Consider Other Points of View
Even when you strongly disagree with someone, looking at the issue from their perspective helps build tolerance and camaraderie on your team. For example, put yourself in the shoes of someone who recently immigrated to this country. Do you see how their individual experiences would influence their opinions?
- Agree to Disagree
You can disagree with someone’s views AND still get along. Think of this in terms of hobbies rather than politics. Let’s say you love downhill skiing, but your coworker hates it. This shouldn’t impact your ability to work on a project together. However, you probably shouldn’t invite him to go on your next ski vacation.
- Change the Topic If Necessary
Sometimes you want to avoid politics, but your colleague keeps bringing it up. It’s perfectly fine to switch the conversation to something else. These 8 simple phrases will make the transition easier.
- Campaign at Work
Unless you’re employed in a political setting, your colleagues most likely will have a wide range of opinions. Thus, your attempts at campaigning may annoy some and distract others. Saving your efforts for after-work hours with like-minded people is a better, and ultimately more productive, use of your time.
- Try to Change People’s Mind
People’s ideals are influenced by their backgrounds and personal journeys. Therefore, you’re unlikely to change anyone’s mind in a fifteen-minute break room conversation, little less a fifteen-minute shouting match. Although it’s fine to hold and express views, you can’t expect everyone else to hold the exact same opinions.
- Bait Your Coworkers
If you know someone has a strong political leaning in one direction or another, don’t aggravate them. There’s no need to gloat, make snide comments, or constantly advertise the opposing point of view. Think of it this way. If you knew your co-worker was allergic to peanut butter, you wouldn’t put a plate of peanut butter cookies on their desk every day.
- Bring Up Hop Topics
Certain subjects are bound to be controversial. So, steer clear of touchy issues. Talk about pets, movies, sporting results, weekend plans or even work-related projects instead.
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