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Comments from BillCorbett, Jr.
Having political discussions in the workplace can have some advantages. “[Employees] often represent our clients and consumers in general,” says Bill Corbett, Jr., president of Corbett Public Relations, a New York-based firm that offers crisis management. “These discussions let us see what they are interested in, what media messages are getting through, and what people care about.”
Political discussions also give leaders a chance to see how employees communicate, defend arguments, and use (or fail to use) logic. “You can tell a lot about how to work with the person, what drives them, and what their vision of the future is,” he says.
If your company has a culture that is open and accepting, sharing your opinion should be encouraged, says Katina Sawyer, assistant professor of psychology at Villanova University. “It can be helpful when your coworkers see you being genuine; employees will also feel better psychologically because they’re being true to themselves,” she says.