Politics at Work

Shawnee Love   •   September 26, 2019

With the federal election campaign officially underway in Canada and new promises almost daily, Canadian politics is a hot topic nowadays.

I remember when sex, religion and politics were not to be spoken about in polite company, but those topics don’t seem taboo anymore and come up on social media as well as around the water cooler or lunch room.

When differing political opinions come up in your workplace or on social media among co-workers, what can you do to avoid heated conversations?

  1. Set the tone by modelling open-minded dialogue for all topics.  E.g., ask questions and listen to the answers.
  2. Encourage and share the facts from all view points.  It can be fun to have all parties’ brochures around so your people can get informed or even invite party representatives to come in and speak at a lunch & learn.
  3. Educate about how to register to vote, how to get informed, and where to vote.  It has the added benefit of showing you care about your people too.
  4. Don’t permit a discussion to get personal and nasty, i.e., shaming, condescending, or being harshly critical about someone for their opinions or beliefs is not okay.
  5. Don’t pressure employees to vote your way.

While it can feel uncomfortable at first, discussions about politics are a way to teach your people how to have difficult conversations in a positive and healthy fashion.  Practice on this topic, might make it easier to discuss really tough topics like body odor, irritating or creepy personal habits, and professionalism (e.g., appearance, speech, spelling, etc.) which upcoming blogs will dig into.