Leadership

Friday Buzz: Can You Talk Politics With Coworkers?

By / Jan 29, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The schools of thought when it comes to political talk in the office. Also: Keep your meetings effective, even if they’re short.

Here’s a topic that might raise concerns for the average office staffer: We’re knee deep in election season. As a result, you’re probably going to run into a conversation or three at the office related to some sort of political issue.

Odds are, you’re probably not going to agree with your coworkers on every single issue that arises. But is there room for cordial political discussion with your colleagues? Fast Company highlights some key thoughts on this matter, both for and against talking politics with your coworkers. For one thing, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.

If you’re a leader, you might be wary of letting your employees get involved in these conversations, but crisis management expert Bill Corbett Jr. suggests that you let them—and that you keep your own thoughts on the matter out of it.

“Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and other candidates are causing emotional reactions,” Corbett told the magazine. “Many people who are angry, concerned, and intrigued are paying attention this year. They want to voice their opinions, and they do look to their leaders. The goal of a leader is to empower people to achieve goals. Anything that can hurt this effort should be avoided.”

Doing More With Less Time

Building a useful meeting for your attendees isn’t the hardest thing in the world, but with tightening budgets and less time for your attendees to devote to the meeting process, it is getting tougher.

How can you keep meetings useful and informative for your members—even if those meetings need to get a little bit shorter? Redstone Agency’s Maddy Marchildon recommends not beating around the bush.

“No one likes a pointless meeting. You know the ones I’m talking about—having a mandatory team regroup, that is often missing a few key players and really only serves to remind a select few about what you have been working on,” Marchildon writes for Corporate Meetings Network. “Avoid doing this—always have your outcome in mind before calling a meeting, whether through a succinct agenda at the board table or through learning outcomes for a presentation at an industry event. Without this, you will not have a clear message, and are wasting yours and everyone else’s time.”

Marchildon’s other recommendations include putting some of the onus on attendees and keeping on track.

Other Links of Note

Don’t miss these tech trends: The association-focused technology consultancy Delcor says these tech topics can’t be avoided any longer.

Thinking about Slack? SilkStart offers some pointers on how to get your association on board the chat platform.

“One of the major themes in the Star Wars films is light versus dark, good versus evil. That same theme often runs through organizations. Light brings forth freedom and direction while darkness leads to restriction and a loss of vision.” — Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Jeff Hurt, a noted Star Wars fan, pulls some association leadership lessons from the force.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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