Here are strategies for managing political discussions in the workplace
PHOENIX — Tensions are running high amid the current political climate and talking about politics at work with the wrong approach could make it even worse.
Arizona’s Employers Council President Karen Stafford believes that if a workplace discussion turns political, its best to try and avoid potentially strenuous situations.
“It helps too to understand your own emotional hot buttons and know what kinds of topics you’re very passionate about,” Stafford told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
She also encouraged those in the workplace to always look for the best in people and be mindful of the fact that we can offend a coworker without intending to do so.
“We’re human, we’re going to make mistakes and say something that could be misinterpreted or it might not come out perfectly,” Stafford added.
With constant reminders of what’s going on in the world on both the television and social media, Stafford says it’s okay to have the difficult conversations – but try to start them slowly and kindly while remaining civil, empathetic and nonjudgmental
She suggests asking a coworker how they are followed by inquiring as to how they’re currently feeling or handling things. It’s best to seek to understand one another where you can even if you disagree, she said.
“You may have differences and that’s okay, but how we talk about them in a respectful manner — that’s what is most important,” Stafford said.
If a coworker gets animated, try to appreciate their emotion. If you feel uncomfortable, give your coworker some direction you’d like to get back to work and talk about things later.
One tip to get out of a heated conversation, let’s agree to disagree.
The Arizona Employers Council believes it is helpful when companies set a precedent for political conversations in the office with certain guidelines or memos during certain seasons they apply.