The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

October 4, 2012

Career Coach: You should veto talking politics at work

What a great time of the year to teach leadership. As it gets closer and closer to election time, leaders take center stage in the news, in debates and on the campaign trail.

Whether it's the presidential race or local races, there are many great (and not so great) examples of important leadership attributes on display, qualities such as charisma, inspiration, emotional intelligence, empathy and decisiveness. I love facilitating these discussions, whether at a corporate client site, with an executive I am coaching, or in a business classroom.

But talking politics can be awkward at times. This year at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, one of our executive MBA students is a close relative of a vice presidential candidate. Fellow students and faculty may be a little more guarded so as not to indicate whether they are Republican, Democrat or independent.

It can be particularly tricky in the workplace, where such conversations can lead to conflicts among colleagues, getting them distracted from their duties and leading to major rifts among co-workers. This is even true for co-workers who are voting for the same candidates. They still might disagree about specific ballot issues.

A recent CareerBuilder poll found that 42 percent of people said they don't talk about politics at the office, while 44 percent said they talk about it, but shut down the conversation when it gets heated. Only 14 percent said they enjoyed discussing politics and having a lively debate at work.

Generally, talking about politics at work is not a good idea. It is seen as problematic as talking about religion, money and sex. Such topics tend to be irrelevant to the work at hand, and the conversations can trigger major clashes and bad feelings. Being tactful and sensitive to others' views is a sign of good emotional intelligence, and is important to maintain morale and a respectful workplace that values everyone.

Text Only
Lifestyle
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee