If we say things that offend people at work or in our businesses, we hurt our co-workers, our employees, our employers, and ourselves. The things you say are things that show commitment, loyalty, and enthusiasm. They create esprit de corps.
The purpose of the workplace is to work. When team members talk about the job and how to do that job, they become efficient. Their minds clear. They create solutions. They innovate. They become successful. They treat obstacles as team opportunities.
Some subjects create an awareness of differences. These things weaken the bonds in the workplace. They are combustible. They spark fires based on personal beliefs. These issues can destroy the teams.
Politics, Religion, Sex, Personal Problems
Politics have the potential to spark fires. Have you ever noticed how some people ignite when you mention a political subject? Often these people will say the same thing they said the last time the discussion turned to politics. Their mind goes to the same point where it went before. There is no discussion. These people play an audio recording stored in their brain. Even people who hold the same political belief can misunderstand the point of view of similarly minded people. They have different memories of the same subject, and these different recordings create separation among people.
Religion often has the same effect on people as politics. For many people, religious discussions immediately create hard feelings. When mixed with discussions of politics, religion can melt teams completely.
Race, ethnicity, and culture are incredibly complicated, divisive topics. Team members need to have confidence in their value as a member of the team. Discussing race, ethnicity, or culture creates an awareness of differences. These topics connect to our brain in the areas of self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. In a workplace, where everyone needs to come together to focus on the common good of the team, discussions of race, ethnicity, or culture can create a threatening sense of hierarchy and a false sense of entitlement.
Discussions of gender in the workplace are psychologically complex, especially when the discussion is between a man and woman. Leave the gender discussions with the human resources department.
Personal problems make doing a job more difficult. Discussing your personal problems in the workplace creates risks to you as an employee. Some companies have the resources to help employees deal with family, financial, mental, substance abuse, and emotional issues. However, these matters are private. If a company is going to get involved in these issues, the best companies refer their employees to professionals in those fields. If you need help with these issues, you might seek professional help before you discuss personal issues at work.
Work can be fun. Work can bring meaning to our lives. In the workplace, we create bonds of loyalty, enthusiasm, and commitment. We can experience esprit de corps. We have this experience through focusing on the job and avoiding discussions that separate us from our co-workers. We can bring power to the workplace through focusing on the job and our similarities and not our differences.
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