Today we’re talking about political beliefs hurting you in the workplace.
When I told my coworkers I planned to vote for Trump, it cost me. I work in an all-female office. Everyone else is voting for Hillary because of Trump’s 2005 Access Hollywood video and his threat to sue female harassers infuriated them.
I don’t like Trump, but after weeks of keeping my feelings to myself, I told my coworkers that I disliked Hillary more than I didn’t like Trump. I also told them that because I didn’t want to waste my vote on a third-party candidate, I planned to vote for Trump.
Since then, I’ve been shunned. Any ideas?
Reach out. Remind your coworkers that you and they have common ground – many of us feel disappointed by our candidates to an extent.
Appeal to your coworkers’ higher values. Ask them if they agree that we need to return to civility in the political discussions. We can’t hope that will happen on the national stage with two candidates who loathe each other, so we’ll have to make it happen for ourselves.
Polish your skills. Our best hope, in our personal lives and at the workplace, lies in learning to handle difficult personal conversations.
Here’s how. Start any difficult conversation with context to affirm the relationship. For example, you might say, “I like working with you. I value your views and working relationship. I don’t want to lose your friendship.” Context helps smooth things out when emotions run high.
Next, make sure you don’t unleash toxic energy by directly or indirectly judging others’ choices. If you call Hillary a liar or Trump a bully, you insult those voting for either candidate. If you know your coworkers’ triggers, avoid them.
Finally, keep your focus on reality, and don’t attempt to convert your most convicted colleagues. While you can explain your views and reasoning to those open to hearing what you say, arguing with those absolutely convinced you’re wrong only drives a wedge between you. Instead, realize that listening to those who hold diametrically opposed views may give you insights you’ll need to navigate our increasingly politically divided nation.
© 2016, Lynne Curry. If you have a career questions you’d like Lynne to answer, write her @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Lynne is an executive coach and author of Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM. You can follow Lynne through her other posts on sheknows.com, via www.workplacecoachblog.com, www.bullywhisperer.com™ or @lynnecurry10 on Twitter.