This is the group of employees that is most worried about talking politics at work

Shutterstock

“It’s concerning that half of the American workforce is worried that disagreeing with their managers about politics might have repercussions for their career,” remarked Greg Brown, the CEO behind a new study challenging the influence U.S. politics has on office morale“As an employer, you want your employees to have diversity of thought. Your job isn’t to suppress this, but you do need HR, leadership, and management to set the boundaries, communicate them to employees, and lead by example.”

I’d have to agree with Brown about how defiantly political prohibition is enforced in the professional sphere. Maintaining civility is undoubtedly an important function of any acting executive but intending to do so by limiting speech is sure to engineer the kind of synthetic comity that stifles genuine collaboration. Not to belie the impression that there is any sort of consensus concerning this.  Thirty-percent of the men surveyed in “Reflektive’s new paper enjoy discussing the economy and current events at their place of work, while just about the same amount of women are staunchly opposed to conversing anything divisive with their colleagues. 

This division is revealed to be a recurring one throughout the paper. Female respondents were more reticent about virtually every taboo topic of discussion compared to men. This can only be surveyed as prudent considering how quickly passionate speech is perceived as “hysteria” when you add another X chromosome to the equation.  Forty percent of female workers are concerned that disagreeing with the political views of their managers and or their coworkers could adversely bias their performance review.

Women                                                                        Men

Abortion                           35%                     Racism                              30%

Religion                             31%                     Religion                             27%

Racism                              30%                     Sex                                     24%

Sex                                     30%                     Abortion                           23%

President Trump         30%                 President Trump             20%

 

“Politics don’t make for ideal workplace conversation, but it’s natural for employees to want to share, discuss and process their feelings about current events,” remarked Rachel Ernst, vice president of employee success at Reflektive. “The important thing is to make sure employees understand the parameters around these conversations so they aren’t causing disruption or making colleagues feel psychologically unsafe.”

That’s an important stipulation. Freedom to express political ideations doesn’t, as a rule, mean impunity to argue against the political ideations of others. I think a lot of the tension might actually be sourced by the proscription. Civics is divisive by nature but durable bonds require a little scabbing here and there.

Even outside of the workplace, shielding views on anything from anyone that might just as soon disagree with them is how you imbalance democracy with factions and ideologues. Moreover, over 50%  of the American workers surveyed in the new report said they are well aware of the political views of their coworkers even if they have never explicitly or even vaguely intimated them.

Disputes are ineluctable aspects of work culture-the only variable pertains to how gracefully they transpire. If you’re the initiator, remember to frame whatever it is you have to say in as constructive a manner as possible. If you’re the receiver, unless your being subjected to an objective jingoistic vulgarian,  try to temper your reaction and or response with as charitable an outlook as you can manage.

“Constant agreement is a sign of apathy. When your team is agreeing with you all the time, it means someone doesn’t care enough to bring her or his opinion forward. Someone doesn’t care enough to challenge existing assumptions with a contrarian viewpoint, or to let you know that something is bugging them. She or he will just keep it inside…and it’ll fester, bubble up, and later explode,” adds CEO of Know Your Team, Claire Lew. 

If the intention of civil discourse fails you, you might find some of the interesting methods of attenuating workplace fallout forwarded by the respondents to be of some utility. For the most part, American workers privilege a one-on-one discussion with their boss or coworker (30%) or objective HR person (23%) to resolve in-office disagreements. Just about one-fourth (23%) of the respondents believe that a defined process to handle conflict to be the most helpful — and an additional portion would settle for dialectic over an open bar (18%) or with the company of a little marijuana (13%).

There are instances wherein an inherently uncomfortable topic of discussion simply must be broached. Nearly one-third of American workers recalled needing a mental health day following a major political event. Twice as many men (26%) as women (12%) say it will be difficult to go to work the day after the 2020 election, irrespective of who wins.