Are Your Workers Arguing Over Politics? Here’s what to Do



The old axiom never to discuss politics and religion is good advice, especially in business.

More so since the Great Recession in 2008 – on all sides of the political spectrum— many workers have been frustrated. Many are angry.

Social media and the news media aren’t helping. Politics is the salient topic  each day. In fact, the cable news networks are experiencing higher ratings as a result.

Worse, employees are bringing the hot-potato discussions to your water coolers. It will only get worse.  If left unchecked, political discussions can kill your culture and employee morale.

Furthermore, appearances count. Any appearance of management taking sides should be avoided.

ID-10054899Here are seven recommendations:

1. Consider policies

You can impose policies banning political discussions and materials and clothing; caps or shirts in your business.

You’ll minimize the prospect of alienating your employees, customers and vendors.

2. Avoid making political comments

Set the tone. You’ll be better off if you avoid endorsing candidates or political parties. Otherwise, you’ll invite divisive political arguments.

If employees insist on obsessively arguing about politics, it will serve as a red flag to you. Other issues will crop up, too.

Some of my most valued associates are politically opposite from me. We avoid political discussions.

Personally years ago, I immensely enjoyed the relationship with three authoritative mentors. At no time, did we ever discuss politics, which meant we maximized our time.

3. Review your policies

Evaluate your company policies. Rewrite any policies related to politics.

Communicate your policies. Remind employees about what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

Stress productivity and efficiency.

4. Counsel your Centers of Influence

Be certain to talk with your managers and supervisors about your policy. You’ll want them to reinforce the matter.

If necessary, train your key staff members in how to deal with political discussions and conflict.

5. Stress detachment

Don’t open political doors. In their interactions, your managers should never inquire about employees’ political beliefs.

Obviously, managers should not try to influence their employees.

6. Advocate team respect

Despite your best efforts, politics will rear its ugly head. Employees will make their opinions known. Everyone should respect others’ political beliefs.

7. Act quickly

As in any violation of company policies, respond fast to any complaints. Keep the focus on principles, not personalities.

In other words, address behavior but not someone’s political preferences.

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“The real death of America will come when everyone is alike.” 
-James T. Ellison


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.