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In today’s tense political environment, it is easy to get swept up in the hype of heavy political dialogue. But what about those people who just want to focus on work instead of political drama? How do they get their work done while still appearing to be a team player?

Here are three easy tips to help:

1) Take emotion out of the situation. If you are a private person who prefers to keep your political views to yourself, or if you just don’t want to engage in politics with your colleagues, remind yourself and others that your primary focus at work is to do just that—work. As long as you are doing your job well, your lack of interest in political dialogue will not hurt you. Do not feel compelled to take one side politically just to fit in. Similarly, do not feel compelled to argue to support your political position, if you’d rather spend your time crafting the latest work-related deliverable.

Remember: You are more likely to succeed at work if you over-deliver on work product consistently. While having a similar political affiliation or view may impact how you interact socially, it should not play a role in your work relationships (unless you work for a politically-involved organization).

2) Excuse yourself politely. Excuse yourself from political conversation discreetly by stating that you have a deadline. Don’t chastise your colleagues for chatting politics instead of attacking the latest deliverable. Lead by example and others will follow suit.

3) Make sure that work is still divided appropriately. Just because you do not want to participate in political dialogue doesn’t mean that you should be stuck with all of the work. Interrupt political discussions at the water cooler or in the boardroom if the team has a tight deadline or if the dialogue is impacting your ability to get your work done.

Tip: The key here is to remain polite and positive, while focusing on work and work-related issues. There is no need to make others feel badly about participating in political dialogue. Let the boss stop the interaction, if he feels that it is disrupting workflow. Your goal is to remain politically neutral and wildly successful at the job for which you are getting paid. Everything else will fall into place.

Want to learn more about handling difficult people in the workplace? Please follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Read my book Working with Difficult People or visit www.amycooperhakim.com.

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