We love surrounding ourselves with passionate people. They’re driven and focused. They inspire us to be assertive. They encourage us to decide on our stance on different matters. But sometimes, passionate people can be too driven, focused, assertive, and firm. This becomes a problem when you’re in the workplace.
With the intense political climate right now, people are on edge. They are divisive on their political views. And they disagree on what the future of the country should be like. It’s not surprising that, in an office, there are people who disagree on politics. They did come from different walks of life, after all.
So it’s only natural they talk with one another about their opinions. They participate in discussions. But what happens when the discussions become too heated? How would that affect their workplace camaraderie? How would that keep morale up?
To avoid political conflicts that affect your work, here are a few things you should always keep in mind.
Workers’ Opinions of Political Discussions
Data from Monster.com shows how people feel about political discussions at work. Of all the responders, 13.9% of them report that they actively engage in talking politics. Then, 23.1% of the responders say that they passively engage in the discussions. But, according to the survey, most people listen during discussions. But they don’t engage. Of all the responders, 34.8% of them said so.
And some refuse to participate at all. Twenty-eight percent of them said so. They don’t feel that it’s right to talk about such matters in the office. But studies show that one in four workers feel more stress and anxiety when there’s political talk. It also has negative impacts on their productivity.
This data goes to show that in an office setting, people can be divisive. They don’t even agree on the stance of political talk in the office. Your job is to know and understand who is willing to participate in political discussions and who is not.
Knowing When to Stick to Business
Timing is key. This is the basic rule of political talk in the office. It would be inappropriate to start expressing political views during a meeting or a presentation. It would only distract everyone from work at hand. It’s also crucial for you to consider first who are the people present in the room. If the clients are there, it won’t be right to start a discussion unrelated to work.
It’s always better to open up about your views when you are outside of the office. Maybe when you’re on a break, and you’re outside by the coffee cart. Places like that are open to discussions unrelated to work. So, unless the coffee cart when up for sale and you can’t use it as a place to open up to your co-workers, then it’s always better to keep the political talk outside of the boardrooms.
Picking Your Battles
Another key thing that you should always remember is knowing which topics are okay to discuss openly with your co-workers. Perhaps it’s okay to talk about the taxes. Or maybe the environment. But it would be best to avoid heavy topics such as same-sex marriage and abortion. People haven’t agreed on these topics for years. It may lead to heated debates that challenge everyone’s beliefs to the very core.
So when discussions become debates, it may be best to walk away. Besides, you have to consider what’s at stake here. You could jeopardize your position in the company. And you could even lose your job.
Always Respect Your Co-workers
Some people are deeply traditional. They don’t believe in some views that they may be considered radical. But then, other people are very liberal. So you must acknowledge that you all come from different upbringings. You all grew up with different beliefs.
You must not undermine your co-workers’ intelligence just because their opinions don’t align with yours. This also doesn’t make them evil or immoral. At the end of the day, all everyone needs to do is respect each other’s views. After all, you don’t have to be friends with all of your co-workers. But you have to respect them and be civil to them.
When it comes to politics in the office, what matters is that no one is getting hurt. What’s important is that people’s work and career opportunities don’t get affected just because of who they are. When we open up about politics in the office, our ultimate goal is that we’re aiming to understand each other. We’re exchanging ideas together. And that we’re aiming to educate each other.