Political discussions have become more and more frequent with the upcoming election. Chances are that these discussions have made their way into your workplace. While being able to share opinions freely is an important part of a healthy workplace, it can become tricky when talking politics. If political discussions are unkind or exclusive, it can create stress and negativity in your company as well as decrease productivity. Here are some ways for you to encourage civil political discussions at work:
Set Behavioral Expectations
Part of having healthy discussions is setting boundaries beforehand. Be very clear with how you expect your employees to behave when talking politics. Specify what behaviors are inappropriate for the workplace and encourage helpful and inclusive behaviors. This is a good way to encourage kind discussion without infringing on employees’ beliefs.
Be an Example
As a business leader, your opinion holds a lot of weight. Because of this, you sharing your political beliefs at work will have an effect. Employees who have a different opinion than you will be hesitant to speak up and share what they believe. To combat this, you need to be a good example. Show your employees that you respect them by listening to their beliefs. Don’t engage in any of the behaviors you don’t want to see in your company. Instead, participate in inclusive behaviors. This will show your employees how they can share their own opinions appropriately at work.
There are many ways for you to educate yourself and your employees on how to hold appropriate discussions. Training can be a helpful resource for teaching employees how to discuss topics they don’t agree on. You can use this to teach respect and understanding between employees to allow for more inclusive political discussions. Additionally, you should educate yourself. Make sure you know and understand your areas’ laws on political expression in the workplace so what you say and do stays in compliance. Doing this will create more educated and inclusive political discussions.
Use these tips to have civil political discussions in your workplace.