Five Rules for Political Talk in the Workplace

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While political discussions are an inevitable part of normal social interaction, excessive partisan banter or even campaigning can become a major distraction in the workplace.

We've all had that annoying coworker who can't shut up about his or her favorite candidate. While political discussions are an inevitable part of normal social interaction, excessive partisan banter or even campaigning can become a major distraction in the workplace.

As the presidential election nears, outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. offers these five rules for political talk in the workplace:

1. Keep it civil:

Do not let friendly banter deteriorate into a name-calling shouting match.

2. Know your colleague:

Careerwise, it is probably safer to converse with those who share your views. If unsure about a colleague’s views, then avoid political conversations or carefully probe for his or her views.

3. Do not campaign:

Give-and-take conversations are acceptable, but campaigning can be off-putting. If someone expresses discomfort with political discussions, respect his or her wishes.

4. If you must talk politics, stick to politics:

While politics are increasingly entwined with religion, consider that aspect of the debate off limits.

5. Do not evaluate based on politics:

You may not agree with a coworker’s political views, but, if you are a supervisor, do not let that influence your assessment of that person’s work and/or value to the company.

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