How to Handle Political Conflicts at Work


In case you have been living under a rock, the 2016 Presidential campaign is well underway. With the two sides competing for the presidency more divided than ever, inflammatory rhetoric seems to be the only way these two parties communicate. This sets a tone that has consequences for your organization as it is unlikely that everyone will have the same political views. Even if you live outside the United States, this is still an issue that can flair up and result in a lot of conflict between team members.

Political clashes are particularly tricky for managers to address and have the potential for grater fall-out than many other kinds of personal conflict. So you have a real interest in preventing these conflicts from occurring and finding ways for everyone to get along if they do. Here are our tips to managing political conflict at the office.  

Don’t ban political talk at the office

There’s a tendency for managers to want to go overboard and ban all talk of politics in the office, but this isn’t necessary the best option. Banning doesn’t always go over well with your employees and it can cause resentment against you as a manager. People often feel that their politics is an expression of who they are and it is difficult to enforce. However, it’s best to remind people that political conversations can make some employees uncomfortable and discourage it as best you can.

Celebrate Difference

One way you can get people feeling better over political differences is to celebrate how valuable different political perspectives and different ways of thinking are to organizations. It would be to detriment of any company if people all thought in the exact same way. The meeting of unique minds is how innovation happens. It’s also unlikely in human gathering that everybody is going to get along all of the time. In these divisive times, celebrating the ability of all your staff to get along can give them an accomplishment to be proud of.

Set Standards for Appropriate Behavior

Ultimately, you may need to remind people what the standards for appropriate behavior is and make sure everyone in the organization is aware of it. Conflict for any other reason is not acceptable and political conflicts are not acceptable for the office either. Remind people that creating an inclusive, tolerant and respective environment is required for all employees and anyone who violates these principles will be disciplined accordingly.

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