With the inauguration of a new U.S. president yesterday, managers are worrying how to manage different viewpoints within the teams they manage during work hours. The answer is not banning any political talk in the office.
Charged disagreements in the office surrounding politics and people’s rights is nothing new. We’ve been through many events within the past year that are a very important part of many people’s lives. How do we manage our employees who sincerely care and are affected by certain topics and events?
Allow your employees to express their opinions. A healthy exchange of ideas and viewpoints is natural and shouldn’t be shunned. If a political conversation happens organically, let it happen, as long as it is respectful of everyone present.
Remind everyone that we’re all different and come with different backgrounds and viewpoints but that we shouldn’t let this cause a divide within the team. If the topic begins to get heated, remind everyone that it’s okay to agree to disagree.
If you sense it’s getting heated, this is where you step in and guide the discussion to an end. As the manager, it may be wise to be the “neutral” referee here so as not to alienate anyone or have anyone feel attacked if their position is under-represented.
When the political climate is heated, your employees will talk. It’s natural. Just know when to wrap it up and move on with the agenda with respect for all.