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Political views as a source of conflict in the workplace...

What you should definitely NOT do...

Last week, "we" were allowed to vote to exercise our democratic right. It seems as if these elections were even more important than the previous ones. Whether this is because the media is hyping it up or because we are at a crossroads is beside the point. The feeling is there.

In recent years, we have increasingly talked about a work environment where you can be "completely" yourself. Regardless of what you think about this, it is an invitation to also show more of your political views. And that produces conflict because there are differences in these views.

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How to deal with political conflicts in the workplace as a manager or HR employee:

This time, we will turn our advice around. This is about what NOT to do.

Don't ostracize people based on their opinions

Excluding people, no matter how subtle, undermines our need to belong to a group. Forming "in" and "out" groups can create hostility and isolate people. Moreover, it often strengthens their original opinion.

Don't disqualify people based on their opinions

Disqualifying people's abilities, no matter how subtle, undermines our need to feel competent. It gnaws at our sense of status. And even if you think you're right, this is definitely not the way to get your point across.

Avoid restricting people based on their opinions

Imposing restrictions on people's freedom of expression, no matter how subtle, undermines our need to be autonomous. Dismissing the topic in the assumption that this will resolve the conflict is naive. It is also difficult to do so fairly. If you ask one person to do it, you must ask the other as well, otherwise you will only make the situation worse.

Creating space for conflict to be addressed constructively when it arises, so that it does not jeopardize the team's task, is not easy. But you will have to think about it because sooner or later you will have to deal with it.

Good luck!


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One of the most highly rated learning modules in our transformation programs is Regie op de Medewerkerbeleving (Take control on Employee Experience).


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