An organization’s success or failure is proportionate to each employee’s effort. A sense of unity and close coordination is essential to extract the best out of the employees, which can be impaired by office politics. Therefore, individuals must work together to avoid unnecessary politics at the workplace.
However, office politics emerges when employees misuse their power in the workplace. It promotes negativity and increases workplace conflicts and tensions.
Although workplace politics can be challenging to navigate, organizations must find ways to create transparency at all levels to foster a positive work environment.
This article provides a comprehensive guide to navigating and dealing with office politics, which can assist in surviving office politics and reducing politics within the organization.
What Is Office Politics?
Office politics, in general, refers to a comprehensive social structure of a workplace in which employees use their power, authority, and delegation to fulfill their agenda.
In other words, office politics refers to activities carried out by individuals to advance their personal agenda, often at the expense of others. These actions/activities are informal or unofficial, and those in power wield authority unfairly over others. That is why workplace politics is perceived negatively.
However, there are some positive aspects of workplace politics, such as how it holds a workforce together to provide a healthy structure, which can drive the organization forward with social capital.
Now, let’s have a look at some examples of office politics.
Office Politics Examples
There are three types of people or groups in almost every office.
The climbers continue to advance themselves at all costs. The hurdlers progress on the backs of work colleagues, especially by taking credit for others’ work; and the takers are those who ask for ideas or help but never seem to return the favors.
Workplace politics can make or break anyone’s career depending on what political behavior they exhibit- negative or positive political behavior.
Negative political behavior is simply playing dirty at the expense of others. Examples of negative political behavior may include:
- Backstabbing or blackmailing a coworker
- Forming malicious coalitions against coworkers
- Spreading rumors or gossiping about others
- Withholding vital information purposefully
Although office politics is frequently negative, positive political behavior is possible. Some examples of positive political behavior may include:
- Maintaining a professional image
- Recognizing and complimenting others
Both of these behavioral changes in employees arise due to several causes. Let’s look at some of those reasons.
Reasons for Office Politics
Being in the limelight without working hard
Some people go to work just for the sake of going to work and do not care about working hard and proving their worth. Such people may try to pl.
Personal relationships between employees, such as going above and beyond to support relatives, friends, or neighbors, can sometimes lead to workplace politics. Such motives should never lead one to mix business with personal life.
Everyone’s point of view is valuable, and at work, one should always speak relevantly, control one’s tongue, and avoid pointing fingers at others.
Lack of Faith
If a coworker reveals or discloses a confidential secret to the company’s boss that may harm them, it may lead to a lack of trust and the occurrence of workplace politics.
Manipulation of information to misguide superiors is also a type of workplace politics.
Office politics can also emerge when employees engage in unnecessary gossip, criticism, leg-pulling, hatred, and backstabbing.
Impact Of Office Politics On An Organization And Employees
Politics has never benefited anyone; instead, it creates a hostile workplace atmosphere.
Office politicians find it difficult to concentrate on their work. They are more concerned with harming the other person’s reputation among superiors.
Due to company politics, individuals fail to trust each other because of the fear of secrets being leaked. This mistrust raises employee stress levels, causing them to make mistakes.
Employees’ Attitudes Change
Politics alters the attitudes of employees. Employees in a politically driven organization lose interest in their jobs and cannot give their all at work.
Demotivates High Performing Employees
Employees are demotivated when they are not appropriately rewarded or when someone who has not worked enough receives benefits purely due to work politics.
Ruins the Work Atmosphere
Office politics spoils individuals’ relationships, leading to a negative environment. Additionally, an individual playing politics in the organization is disliked by all.
Decrease In Overall Productivity
Individuals who engage in workplace politics pay less attention to their work and generally fail to meet deadlines. Their impact on the workplace also demotivates high-performing employees. Hence, politics in the workplace eventually have an impact on the organization’s productivity.
Role of Management in Avoiding Office Politics
Roles & Responsibilities
Job mismatch can lead to politics in the workplace. When employees have nothing creative to do, they engage in nonproductive activities. As a result, management must assign roles based on individuals’ preferences, skill sets, and academic backgrounds.
The management must maintain effective control over employees and ensure that each employee abides by the established guidelines and rules. Well-defined hierarchical structures reduce the likelihood of workplace politics.
The management must maintain transparency at all levels and expect the same from their employees. They should also ensure that all employee issues are addressed openly so that they do not develop feelings of jealousy toward one another.
The management must interact with employees regularly and allow them to speak freely to learn about their grievances and other issues. The management should also ensure that the issues are resolved immediately so the employees remain engaged.
Team Building Activities
Team building activities such as morning meetings and fixed lunch hours should be encouraged so employees can talk about things other than work during their lunch break. Such interactions aid in the strengthening of employee bonds and the reduction of office politics.
Avoid being Partial
Undue favoritism breeds workplace politics. As a result, the management must not blindly favor any employee.
Set a Good Example
The management must set a good example for all employees and take disciplinary action against those who engage in office politics.
Maintain The Workplace’s Decorum
Politics is never beneficial in the long run. Employees must focus on their work rather than getting involved with the work of their colleagues. Avoid backstabbing, making fun of others, and spreading lies and misinformation about anyone at work.
Learn to Listen Actively
As email and video calls are the primary modes of communication among remote employees, appropriately reading someone else’s tone, or even just intentions can be difficult. The majority of problems arise as a result of incorrect assumptions. As a result, navigating office politics necessitates active listening.
Teamwork promotion at work strengthens the bond between employees, and they grow to like each other. In addition, initiatives such as celebrating various festivals at the workplace or taking employees out for informal get-togethers and picnics help to reduce employee misunderstandings.
Communication reduces the likelihood of workplace politics. To avoid confusion, employees should prefer written modes of communication such as emails, and they must never manipulate information.
Adopt a Service Mindset
Political landscapes will continue to hold root unless people begin to see things in a different way. A self-centered vision must give way to selflessness, which begins with love, the desire to serve, and the wish to see the best in everyone. If one person starts doing this, others will wonder why they feel so different. Consequently, if a large number of people also start behaving in this enlightened manner, the adverse political system will collapse.
Maintaining transparency at all levels aids in the reduction of workplace politics. Everyone in the company should follow the same policies. Also, employees must be aware of the organization’s goals and objectives and work hard to achieve them.
Always Being Authentic
An employee’s most valuable asset will always be their authenticity. Authenticity is essential in any workplace, and one must try to mean what they say, follow through on their promises, and avoid being the type of individual who always evaluates public sentiment before acting.
- Assume Positive Intent
People remain the same whether they are in the office or in the virtual world. And when dealing with office politics, assuming positive intent and attempting to understand will result in quick resolutions and a win-win situation as it helps to maintain positive working relationships.
- Job Satisfaction
Employees engage in office politics when they have much free time and nothing to do. To avoid such scenarios, employees’ responsibilities must be allocated based on their specialization, interests, and educational qualifications. In addition, companies must ensure that their employees enjoy their work so they remain loyal to the organization.
- Try to Keep Everyone on Good Terms
Nothing ruins employee engagement more than office politics. The only way to win is to not participate in it. Maintain a positive attitude and good relationships with everyone. Connect with coworkers, and keep your attention on cooperation and collaboration.
11 Crucial Tips To Win At Office Politics
An individual must know how to deal with politics in the workplace. Here are some crucial tips to win office politics.
- Be truthful. Never betray someone’s trust. For example, if any of your coworkers confess something to you, never betray their trust and reveal their secret to your superiors.
- Concentrate on your work rather than intruding on others.
- Staying out of office politics is the best way to win. Avoid unnecessary workplace disputes, conflicts, and controversies.
- Try your hardest to assist your coworkers whenever possible, and refrain from making inappropriate suggestions.
- Don’t unnecessarily react to everything at work.
- Don’t rely too heavily on verbal communication. Use email to communicate. It is always best to keep your boss informed about all forms of communication.
- Never twist words or manipulate data. The information must be transmitted in the desired format.
- Always be courteous to everyone and try to keep cool at work. One should learn to control one’s tongue. Avoid using derogatory language against your coworkers.
- One should respect others’ privacy and never open anyone else’s confidential documents, check their emails in their absence, or listen to others’ conversations. Such behavior is strictly prohibited in the workplace.
- Avoid criticizing others or spreading rumors about anyone at work. Face-to-face discussions are better than back-biting. Consider the positive aspects of work life and colleagues.
- Set goals for yourself and stick to them. Don’t allow others to influence you and your performance.
Ultimately, hard work and sincerity benefit everyone in the long run. Individuals who engage in office politics may gain instant fame and recognition, but if they lack the necessary skills and attitude, they will eventually be expelled from the system.
Employees must be aware of workplace politics’ negative impacts and learn how to mitigate and navigate the organization’s specific political landscape. Furthermore, key management roles must be judiciously tailored to ensure a prosperous future for all.