Your workplace is not a political hotbed, but there may be times when your employees want to discuss politics. In these instances, you need to know what to do. Otherwise, political debates may persist across your workplace and create tension among your employees. And if ongoing political debates go unaddressed, they can lead to cliques and disrupt workplace productivity.
Ultimately, it may be impossible to keep politics out of your workplace, particularly if you are committed to building a work environment where employees are encouraged to communicate and collaborate with one another. On the other hand, there are several things you can do to promote inclusivity and ensure employees are willing to listen to one another and accept each other’s political beliefs, even if these beliefs are different from their own.
Some of the things you can do to manage political discussions in your workplace include:
1. Be Empathetic
You and your employees may have differing political views, and that’s ok. Listen to what your employees have to say about various political topics, and recognize that you and others won’t always agree with one another about these topics.
Encourage employees to listen to their colleagues and respect their opinions. In doing so, you can further develop a workplace where employees are open and honest with one another.
2. Validate Your Employees’ Viewpoints
You should never reward employees based on their political viewpoints, regardless of whether you agree. Conversely, you should let your employees know that their viewpoints are valid.
If employees share their political viewpoints, listen, then respond. Let employees know that they are entitled to their viewpoints. At the same time, you can reinforce the fact that other workers may feel differently, and each employee’s political viewpoint is valid.
3. Focus on the Positives
Political discussions are not necessarily bad. In fact, if you can show your employees the benefits of respecting their colleagues’ political viewpoints, you can build an inclusive work environment.
Set a positive example for your employees by preventing political discussions from causing workplace conflicts. To do so, you can remain calm, cool, and collected in the face of political discussions. You can also let your employees know that there may be a better time to discuss politics than during the workday.
4. Prioritize Your Business Needs
Political debates can quickly overwhelm your workplace. If political debates make it exceedingly difficult for your employees to focus on their everyday tasks, you need to discuss this issue with your workers.
Politics should never become a distraction at work. If political debates hamper workplace productivity, talk to your employees, and brainstorm ways to resolve this issue. You can also let your employees know that they can discuss politics and any other topics during their breaks or outside of work.
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