How to Have a Productive Conversation About Politics at Work

Harvard Business Review

Posted  366 Views updated 2 years ago

No one wants to get into a heated political debate with their coworkers, especially over Zoom or on the phone. But what do you do if your colleague insists on bringing up the election or other fraught topics? Start by setting clear boundaries.

Calmly agree upon some general ground rules. If things start to get emotional, watch yourself to make sure you’re not violating those boundaries, and gracefully exit the conversation if you feel the other person isn't respecting your agreed-upon terms. Be curious about your coworker’s views.

When you genuinely inquire into others’ experiences and what shapes their perspective, there’s a good chance you’ll find things that surprise you, teach you, and open your mind. Point out areas of agreement, especially ones that require you to relinquish previously cherished “facts.”

This makes it safe for the other person to do the same. Keeping these simple tactics in mind will help you navigate tricky conversations, protecting you and your relationships at work.

Photo credit: We are the city


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