Politics Can Be Tricky; Here’s How to Maintain a Clean Reputation at Work
Remember the old rules of the workplace that required you to never bring up politics if you wanted to avoid making enemies in the workplace?
Unfortunately, the current political landscape has caused many people to dismiss some basic courtesies and rules. People are emotionally charged and ready to spill their political venom in the workplace, causing many engaged employees to fall victim to a coworker’s chaotic political diatribe.
Watch out. You don’t want this political drama to impact your work performance – or even worse jeopardize the relationship that you have with your boss. Here is what you should do to maintain a clean reputation at work:
Refrain from Using Political Insults on Social Media
I know it’s tempting to call the opposing candidate a complete airhead and fill your page with verbal attacks that would leave a whiplash on any bystanders. But if your co-workers are your friends on Facebook, post with caution. They will judge you harshly if your political comments are offensive to any party. Do you really want to create unnecessary tension in the workplace because of your personal beliefs?
You may be jumping out of your seat right now ready to argue that your social media posts are your personal views and should have nothing to do with your professional encounters, but if you see Joe avoiding your messages the next morning, you’ll know that you tarnished another work relationship. If you’ve already found yourself on shaky footing in social media, you can use a reputation management strategy to control the damage.
Avoid Political Activity at Work
Your place of employment is not the place to compete for the title of political ambassador of the year. That means no emails to your co-workers harassing them about their political involvement, no apparel supporting your favorite candidate, and no political paraphernalia pasted all over your desk. Promote your favorite political party on your own time. While you’re at work, try to show your company pride by supporting the work that your company does. Hopefully, you like the company that you work for–if not, that’s another topic for another day.
Know Your Audience Before Leaning in
It’s not always a career-limiting move to discuss politics at work. But you have to exercise common sense, and we all know that common sense isn’t so common. Equip yourself with the emotional intelligence that you need before getting into a conversation that can cost you your job. Be smart about every encounter–check the political temperature of your coworkers before proceeding.
If you engage in a conversation with coworkers who are also your friends, it may be okay to dive in – as long as you adhere to company policies. When everyone agrees on political candidates and policies, you diminish the risk of creating a hostile debate in the workplace. On the other hand, if there are red flags leading you to believe that a co-worker has extreme political views that will instantly raise your temperature, change the conversation and find something less sensitive to talk about. Whatever you do, choose your words wisely and be respectful. This will earn you points in any crowd.
Ask Good Questions
Good questions allow others to focus on the policies instead of the people. It also shows that you care about what others have to say and you are open to hearing the views of others; this can earn you more allies in the workplace! Let’s not forget that asking good questions will allow you to learn something new. Even if you could care less about how others on the opposing party may feel, asking good questions can give you insights into why a person feels a certain way. This can provide you with good information for counterarguments that you may want to make, even outside of the workplace.
Have you ever had to discuss politics with your co-workers? How did you handle it? Please share your comments via email to [email protected]