We all know that person. You know what I mean, that person who chews loudly, talks incessantly, or – my personal bad habit – leaves sticky notes everywhere. These attributes can quickly lead to tension within an office.
But tension really begins when political views come into play. How do we know when to defend our values and when to respect a professional environment?
As a current intern at the Leadership Institute, I have the privilege to work alongside like-minded, passionate individuals. However, past work experience taught me three important lessons about respectful political conversation with the people I see at the same cubicle every day.
- Don’t spike
Punchy political one-liners may be funny around other conservatives, but they quickly shut down any valuable conversation between opposing viewpoints. Always promote discussion. It is respectful conversation that changes a person’s mind.
In good conversation, each person is like a volleyball player “hitting” the conversation back and forth. If one player spikes the ball, the conversation – and opportunity to convince someone – is over.
- Pick your battles
Don’t fight every issue every time. Sometimes in an office it is simply inappropriate to talk politics. Read the situation and practice discretion.
I know, it is hard to stay silent. But picking your battles means that when you do engage, it is more meaningful and your coworkers will not be exhausted by constant political banter.
- It’s not about you
The Leadership Institute works hard to promote a movement and not build an organizational empire. Conservatives must be team players committed to principles. If we enter a conversation trying to prove that we are right, we will always lose. This is not a time to prove how smart we are.
It is not enough to be right. We must also be tactful.
Well-timed, respectful conversations can change minds and influence movements.