Talking politics at work is very risky and can be divisive. And while this issue was an all-time concern during the election period, as we ready for a new administration, politics will surely come up again during the new year. And it is important to be very diplomatic more now than ever before–especially if you and your boss dont agree on politics.
If your job is very important to you and you suspect clashing with your boss could lead to you getting fired down the road, it’s best to simply keep your opinion to yourself. Survival always comes first. But if you have lots of options and your livelihood isn’t on the risk then you can respectfully disagree, advises Alex Reichmann, CEO of iTestCash.
But how should you handle it if your boss directly asks your opinion on a political issue? Answer your boss in an open-minded way. Show him that you understand both sides of the issues and explain in a reasonable way why you support your view, says Reichmann. This type of approach also helps in the bigger picture. Tolerance of different political views can be crucial to making progress as a society and there’s nothing wrong with a boss or co-worker having different views, as long as it doesn’t interfere with either of their lives.
Adds business coach/speaker Thom Singer, founder of the “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do Podcast,” Answering a direct question about politics is fine, as long as you are not insulting to the other side. Simply give your answer, but do not do so in a way that challenges others as being wrong. It would also be okay to say I prefer to keep my political viewpoints outside of the work environment.
Try your best to avoid political arguments. If your boss is talking about politics, do more listening than talking. Arguing with your boss or trying to change his or her mind is never a smart idea. If you feel the need to be right, you may also find the need in the near future to go look for a new job, suggests Singer.
Of course, you dont want to be dishonest while staying true to your own opinions. You do not have to lie or hide your own feelings, but you should remain respectful to your boss or co-workers. You can simply say, I have a different point of view on this subject, but am always excited to hear how other people feel. Or add, I find our office is not the best place to debate politics, but would happily share with you what has lead me to my opinions, if you want to grab a coffee or a beer during non-work hours, says Singer.