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4 Tips for Keeping Politics Out of Staff Conversations

By Lena J. Weiner  
   October 24, 2016

Avoiding divisive topics can help maintain workplace morale during a contentious election season—and afterward.

There are some things we would rather not know about the people we work with. Generally, it's a good idea to avoid complex health problems discussed in detail, intimate lives, and the intricacies of religious beliefs.

Then there are political views, especially during a bitter, divisive Presidential election season.

You shouldn't—and legally can't—officially try to stop employees from talking politics, says David Sanders, chief talent officer at Faegre Baker Daniels, an international law firm.

That doesn't mean such conversations should be encouraged, says Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert and owner of San Antonio-based Protocol School of Texas who has consulted on corporate etiquette and branding.

Gottsman urges extreme caution when conversations could turn political, both on ethical grounds and to ensure the comfort of all workers.

"Much like religion and other confidential, sensitive topics that are highly emotional or emotion-provoking, you should try to avoid the conversation," she says.

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Gottsman and Sanders offered the following tips for avoiding charged conversations.

Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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