Talking politics at work
Today's world can often feel as though we're all walking on eggshells. It's no secret that we're living in a politically polarized world.
People are passionate about the political situation now, and I've often been asked how to deal with the opinions of others in the workplace.
Do you argue your point? Do you keep your mouth shut? And, is it appropriate to have political discussions in the workplace at all?
Be warned that while we all have the freedom to express our opinions openly, we also have the responsibility of understanding the tension we might be creating at the office. We also may run afoul of human resources if we insult others' opinions and appear to be harassing co-workers who don't share our views.
Here are eight simple rules you should consider before you either express your passionate opinions at work, or respond to opposing viewpoints. working on a project with a group of people and they haven't talked about politics, there's probably a good reason: They either disagree with you, they are uncertain how you feel, or they simply don't believe politics should be part of the conversation at work.
The safe bet is to keep your conversations focused on work, family, friends and weekend activities in such situations. If you really feel the need to blurt out something about what's happening in the news, ask your co-worker if he or she is bothered by that.
Sharing opinions can be dicey
Everyone believes they're right when it comes to political discussion. They have the freedom to form their own opinions.
You need to think about the potential fallouts you might have in relationships at work if you find yourself in disagreement with a co-worker. Sure, you might sit on opposing sides of the aisle, but you're still required to work together and get the job done.
Your company may have rules against posting political content on social media accounts and may even frown on political discussions at work.
Be careful what you say
and be respectful of others.
This sounds simplistic, but if you find yourself in a political debate whether it's at work or not, the best chance you have to sway someone else's opinion is to sit and listen.
Other people will respect the fact that you respect them enough to hear their points. And, you might actually see things from a different perspective as well.
If there are two things we can all agree with now, it's that the country is divided, and that there's a lot of blame being pitched from both parties.
If you're going to talk politics, keep it focused on policies. View them all as projects that can be improved if we all started working together instead of blaming each other.
Just because someone doesn't agree with you politically doesn't mean he or she is bad at his or her job, and it doesn't mean you can't work with that person.
You have reasons you think the way you do, and so do es he or she. None of those reasons should affect the quality of the work you can produce together.
If you simply cannot contain your passion for one political party, at least keep your communication positive about that party rather than sharing the disdain you feel for the opposition.
Positive comments rarely offend people. Negative comments almost always offend someone.
Although the political cycles can often make every decision feel like impending doom, it's important to remain calm and understand that democracy often is self-corrective, not just for the last election, or the next election, but over the long haul.
You won't like some changes. Co-workers won't like some changes. The pendulum will continue to swing in both directions.
It may be hard to believe but some of the people you disagree with the most about politics are likely some of the kindest people you'll ever meet. Let's not take kindness lightly in this world. Kind people aren't separated by party lines; they're the fabric of understanding, compassion and true human strength. And that's a concept that's hard to dispute.
Realize this: You don't have to agree with everyone with whom you work, but you must be respectful of others.
Politics can be messy. Passionate opinions can impede our ability to work together, if we allow it. It's really your choice how you want to communicate your opinions to the world right now. And luckily the most powerful way to let your voice be heard is to vote. Todd Nordstrom is the content director for the O.C. Tanner Institute and the host of the Great Work Insights podcast.