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Should you talk politics at work?

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Hi there,

For the past few weeks, I have been wondering if politics at work is healthy or toxic? I'm curious, what impact are discussions on politics having on our work cultures and professional relationships?

We know that across the country, some families and friends feel a great divide politically and some have even avoided talking to each other. But at work, we don't have the option to just stop communicating.  We are expected to lead, drive results, and produce regardless of our politics. So the big question is...Should we talk politics at work and how is that working out for us?

I have put together a 1 min survey to capture what people in my network think on this topic and I hope you will participate. It will take you a whopping 1 minute to complete it and I will share the results with you in my next email.

Click here to take the survey and don't worry I don't ask for any personal information (no names or emails). 

While we wait for the results I wanted to share three simple tips on how to escape an uncomfortable discussion on politics at work (because I know I can't be the only one who has been in that situation lately). 

Tip #1: When someone has a different view from you but you really don't want to hash it out with them...

  • First, listen...

  • Then, reply with "hmm" or "I see".

  • Then, make the person feel heard by saying, "I see what you mean." 

  • and then say..."Sorry to cut you short but I really need to get back to ...." 

Tip #2: When someone asks you your view, for example, "how did you vote?" or "what do you think of this outcome?"  and you don't want to talk about it.

  • Option 1: a simple “I don’t want to talk about politics” 

  • Option 2: "This has been a very stressful time and today I am taking a "politics-free" mental health day - let's talk about your holiday plans instead." 

  • Option 3: Say something funny that doesn't answer the question and sends the message that you won't answer. The truth is, I am very very very not funny;  my older brother stole all the humor genes, so I don't have any good examples but I am sure you might...

Tip #3: When you have a history of political disagreements and the election has made the two of you reach a boiling point

  • "I know we have strong differences politically but I really value you as a professional (you are great at_(list the things this person is great at) and would like to work well with you. Can we agree to focus on our work mission and keep our personal differences out?"

I hope you will take my 1 min survey and I look forward to sharing the results and more tips with you soon.


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