Does talking politics around the water cooler divide employees?

After any big election, employees are bound to talk passionately about politics in the office. It’s up to leaders to make sure that discussion stays civil.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Even so, folks who have invested a lot of time and energy in the election are sure to want to talk about it, not just the day after, but for days or weeks to come. They’re probably going to get emotional. They’re likely to disagree. Things could get heated. So it’s worth figuring out a way to keep those discussions from transforming your office into a den of hostility.

Communications experts say it’s not particularly advisable, nor even possible, to ban political talk altogether, but leaders can certainly guide employees toward civility. More than that, leaders have a responsibility to ensure they don’t use a position of power to make political overtures.

What’s permissible?

Career counselor and executive coach Roy Cohen says the office is like a dinner party. It’s not really a place to talk about politics.

“It is not fair to your host, and it is equally disruptive to your employer or employees,” he says.

Cohen advises that employees who get dragged into a political debate at work should say their opinions are private and not really something they want to discuss at work.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.