What Topics Should A Workgroup Avoid?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about topics that provoke debate:

I have a large group of women working in a small area. They are constantly bringing up topics that create a debate. What are some major topics that I should have them avoid?

Signed, Taboo Talk

Dear Taboo Talk:

Here’s a question we have not received before. Its answer can range from none to specifics. Possibly, the answer is to suggest that vigorous and even acrimonious debate helps this work group’s day go faster. You seem to assume that to tell someone not to think or talk about something can work, as if to say, “Don’t allow the words Ape or Chicken come to your mind during the next five minutes” can prevent that. This is to suggest that possibly a proactive approach would be to suggest some topics that would so interest this group of women-that they would find some topics invigorating and fun–rather than to order them to avoid debatable topics that might provoke alienation. One of our guest respondents sent the additional advice below.

Second Opinion I agree with your conclusion. But helping the questioner clarify the problem may be helpful.As….”What do you see as the problem? Does debate detract from work? Does it affect women workers badly? Why would you want to discourage some topics? Are some of the topics inappropriate for a work setting? Do they become personal? Any group in a small place – without light, heat, food, and the ability to converse would become…..well. Jack White, Guest Respondent with a world of management experience. Do let us know what you do and if any things you or they do generates fun and helps the day go better. Think WEGO The Workplace Doctors

William Gorden