The Dangers of Discussing Politics at Work

With so many political discussions running rampant, you and/or your co-workers may be tempted to express strong political opinions. This can ultimately inhibit your productivity and teamwork. Regarding the Dangers of Discussing Politics at Work, whenever possible, we feel it’s best to leave political opinions outside of the workplace.

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The Dangers of Discussing Politics at Work

Talking about politics on the job is an uncomfortable, awkward, and delicate topic that can hurt one’s feelings. If one voices a strong opinion, it tends to make the one listening to feel isolated, disliked, and possibly even intimidated.

Why?

Discussing politics at work can turn a pleasant working environment into a tense and uncomfortable situation. Also it can negatively impact the productivity of the employees. Political topics can also sometimes become explosive. What starts as a casual discussion may suddenly spiral into disrupting longstanding working relationships.

Political Discussions May Escalate Into:

  • Tension between coworkers,
  • Unpleasant comments,
  • Anger which can lead to arguments,
  • Disagreements,
  • Conflict regarding opinions,
  • Offensive/intimidating comments,
  • Team breakdown or splits,
  • Heated debates,
  • Resentment, which can have a negative effect on the working relationship of the team.

You just never know when your casual comments may offend a coworker. Many people have grown tired of political talk because it can be repetitive, negative, and disturbing. It also can be a big waste of time in situations where there is a lot of work to be done.

Sometimes it is not easy to deal with people who want to impose their views on you, or push your buttons. Remember you are going to be working together even after the political events are completed (such as with an election). You simply don’t want to damage your future working relationship with coworkers. Think in terms of the overall effect of political discussions in the workplace.

EXAMPLE:

Perhaps your manager overheard a discussion and his/her viewpoints were totally the opposite of yours. A conversation of this nature can affect your job, bonus, raise, and can also change your manager’s opinion on you as an employee. We suggest being thoughtful and considerate when voicing your opinion and discussing politics in the workplace. Otherwise, the potential negative fallout with coworkers is not worth it.

What to Do?

Now that you know the reasons for not discussing politics at work, how do you stop it from happening?

How to Avoid Getting into Political Discussions at Work:

1.  Be Direct—Don’t Get Engaged

It’s easy to ignore the occasional reference to politicians, but if coworkers won’t stop talking about them it’s OK to ask them to stop. It’s best to be polite but direct. You might say, “I don’t like to talk about politics at work. I find that it’s too easy for me to feel distracted, and I need to focus on my job responsibilities.”

2. Choose Your Response to Political Comments Carefully

Because we cannot control our coworkers’ political comments or opinions, we must be careful how we respond.

3. Focus on the Facts

There will be times when you cannot avoid a political discussion, like when your bosses or clients mention the latest news reports. If this happens, acknowledge their opinions in a neutral way.

4. Deal with Excessively Talkative Coworkers

If you find yourself with these types of coworkers, set boundaries and redirect the focus on the job productivities.

5. Preempt Discussions in the Workplace

It is a great idea for the Employer and HR Personnel to send out a memo prior to election times. If someone’s political opinions become harsh, racist, or demeaning, it should be brought to their attention right away.

6. If a Discussion Does Occur in the Workplace, We Suggest That You:

  • Respect others’ opinions,
  • Stay neutral or keep the conversation factual,
  • Keep opinions to yourself,
  • Don’t get involved (or try not to),
  • Just state you are not interested,
  • Be sure it doesn’t interfere with your job performance.

Make sure that you don’t allow discussing politics at work. Political discussion in your workplace to cause long lasting dispute, or damage your working relationships with your coworkers.

How do you and your co-workers respond effectively to political discussions in the workplace? Please share your feedback with us!

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About Tami Gilbert

Tami Gilbert is an RN, MSN, MBA, Presenter, Speaker, Podcast Host, and Author of Career CPR: Meaningful Strategies to Resuscitate or Nurture Your Career and Courage to Persevere: A Compelling Story of Struggle, Survival, and Triumph.

Tami helps businesses and corporations increase their bottom line through employee retention. She holds workshop activities to increase employee job satisfaction. Her perseverance and tenacity is a true story of life-changing courage which Tami shares with others to inspire, encourage, edify and embolden them toward a life of fulfillment and contentment.

Anything is possible – if you believe,” is Tami Gilbert’s call to action.

A thought-provoking and insightful speaker, Tami delivers passionate, power-packed informational presentations that teach others how to increase their own happiness at work, create a positive workplace environment, and build a successful career.

About Jerry Cox

Jerry Cox is an RN, MSN, CRRN, CPI, Staff Nurse, Manager, Clinical Instructor, CPR Instructor, and Podcast Co-Host. She attended St. Xavier University where she studied nursing. She is devoted to her lifelong career in her profession.

Jerry is highly recognized for encouraging individuals to reach their professional goals, fulfilling their ambitions and obtaining satisfaction in their careers. She has obtained several Awards (Nancy Holt Awards and Magnuson Awards) in recognition for her outstanding efforts and contributions to her team in making the organization the best in healing and hope.

Jerry worked on various committees (such as Clinical Ladder Committee, Research Committee, Policy & Procedure Committee, and The Magnet Steering Committee).

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