Four strategies for dealing with political talk at work
It used to be expected that people would leave their political views at the door when they came to work, but apparently no longer. It seems we’re ambivalent about that: While 66% of employees said they’re hearing more political talk at work than a few years ago, only 22% think these conversations are “appropriate”, but 49% admit to being “interested” anyway.
Politics can be divisive and full of emotion, which makes it a difficult subject matter at work where we’re supposed to be “professional”. With that in mind, how should we deal with a political talk at work? We have four strategies for you right here that come from Harvard-trained mediator Benjamin Cook.
First strategy: Try to see where the other person is coming from. The key is to see the other as a person with hopes, fears, and challenges. If you don’t know what those are, you might need to start by finding out. Who knows, your coworker’s logic may make more sense —at least to him or her— than is obvious at first glance.
Second strategy: Don’t say, “I understand, but…” Cook says that “no one has ever felt understood when someone else says that. On the contrary, we feel the other person emphatically doesn’t understand, and we brace ourselves to be contradicted.
Third strategy: Put down the boxing gloves. Just because we don’t agree with someone’s political convictions doesn’t mean we have to get defensive and fight back. If you don’t get triggered, the other might not as well, helping to keep the conversation honest and civil.
Fourth strategy: Find common ground. Odds are that you and your colleague (or your boss) will never see eye-to-eye on politics, and you’ll just have to agree to disagree. That doesn’t mean you can’t get along. Find something you both like such as a sport or a hobby, and focus on that rather than politics.READ MORE
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