5 Methods to Survive Political Discussions at the job

Charles Lester, left, and Nicole Peoples, right, just work at their cubicles in the Dell customer contact center in Oklahoma City.

(Image: © AP Photo)

Whether you’re a politics fanatic or a workaday constituent, it makes sense to dodge heated election debates in the office water cooler, says a liberal arts professor.

Among the cardinal virtues to heed as the buzz from the Iowa caucuses fades and subsequent primaries rev up is prudence. That’s according to Pier Massimo Forni, director of the Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, which started in 1997 to evaluate the significance of manners and civility in modern society.

However, don’t expect workplace handbooks to discourage political talk in the office.

«There is so much an organization can do to reduce the negative impact that distinctions of opinion may have on everyday life at the job,» Forni said. «Ultimately, it really is up to the average person employees to get the wisdom and deploy the abilities to stay professional at the same time when ‘we’ versus ‘they’ thinking is more frequent.»

Forni offers advice on political etiquette in the office.

1. Decide whether you are game. Consider if the printer area, for example, may be the right spot to discuss your preferred presidential candidate. Consider the results of a chat that could become heated.

2. Disclosing your situation isn’t your only choice. When asked how you want to vote or what political beliefs you possess, remember you have several options for response, including: «Why would you need to know that?» or «I’m sure I’ll constitute my mind before Election Day.» or «I am really uncomfortable discussing such a delicate matter at the job.» For the busy-body who plays the «outing» game by saying: «And how is well known conservative today?» Forni suggests a covert response: «And who that be?»

3. Be respectful and fair. For individuals who opt to discuss politics, ensure that you give your workplace mate the opportunity to speak. For a supplementary incentive, understand that while elections come and go, probably you need to face co-workers long following the polls close.

4. Usually do not presume agreement. Don’t neglect that you as well as your co-workers contain the same political preferences.

5. Keep your poise and become assertive. Regardless of how you react to a prodding colleague, do so with firmness and politeness. If another employee is bullying you about your stance on a political issue, you can reply, «That is my estimation and I’ve given it a whole lot of thought,» or «Well, let’s just accept that people have different opinions concerning this and move on.»

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5 Methods to Survive Political Discussions at the job