Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Latest Updates

October 4, 2012

Career Coach: You should veto talking politics at work

What a great time of the year to teach leadership. As it gets closer and closer to election time, leaders take center stage in the news, in debates and on the campaign trail.

Whether it's the presidential race or local races, there are many great (and not so great) examples of important leadership attributes on display, qualities such as charisma, inspiration, emotional intelligence, empathy and decisiveness. I love facilitating these discussions, whether at a corporate client site, with an executive I am coaching, or in a business classroom.

But talking politics can be awkward at times. This year at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, one of our executive MBA students is a close relative of a vice presidential candidate. Fellow students and faculty may be a little more guarded so as not to indicate whether they are Republican, Democrat or independent.

It can be particularly tricky in the workplace, where such conversations can lead to conflicts among colleagues, getting them distracted from their duties and leading to major rifts among co-workers. This is even true for co-workers who are voting for the same candidates. They still might disagree about specific ballot issues.

A recent CareerBuilder poll found that 42 percent of people said they don't talk about politics at the office, while 44 percent said they talk about it, but shut down the conversation when it gets heated. Only 14 percent said they enjoyed discussing politics and having a lively debate at work.

Generally, talking about politics at work is not a good idea. It is seen as problematic as talking about religion, money and sex. Such topics tend to be irrelevant to the work at hand, and the conversations can trigger major clashes and bad feelings. Being tactful and sensitive to others' views is a sign of good emotional intelligence, and is important to maintain morale and a respectful workplace that values everyone.

Text Only
Latest Updates
  • suspect john smith Suspect arrested, faces felony charges following shooting incident

    A Mercer County man was arrested and arraigned on felony charges Thursday after a domestic altercation led to a shooting incident on Methodist Hill Road.
    Mercer County 911 dispatched first responders to the scene approximately 9:50 a.m. Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department were the first to arrive.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thousands rally for coal

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Thursday.
    The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) members and their families along with other unions such as the Boilermakers Union and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW) marching through the streets.

    August 1, 2014

  • George Allan Truhlar.png McDowell man in custody on sex crime charges

     A McDowell County man is behind bars after allegedly exchanging pornographic images with teenage girls and attempting to set up encounters with them, authorities said Thursday.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman on probation for previous drug charges arraigned on new counts

     A Mercer County woman who was sentenced on a drug distribution conviction more than 2 years ago, was arraigned on Thursday on charges contained in a new 4-count federal indictment alleging that she distributed drugs.

    August 1, 2014

  • West Africa Ebola outbreak tops 700 deaths

    Security forces went house-to-house in Sierra Leone’s capital Thursday looking for Ebola patients and others exposed to the disease as the death toll from the worst recorded outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa.
    U.S. health officials urged Americans not to travel to the three countries hit by the medical crisis:  Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Comiskey.jpg Sterling not the only bad owner

    As the Donald Sterling era in with the Los Angeles Clippers looks to be winding down, many are calling him the worst owner in sports history. From being cheap with the players to his most recent racist comments, it's hard to argue against.
    Yet, there are a few owners of athletic teams who can give Sterling a run for title of worst in history.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo