There are no two ways about it – office politics are nearly unavoidable. You can expect a challenging social landscape when you have many opinions, personalities, and power levels in one workplace.
While you might not be able to avoid office politics, you can certainly make your work environment an overall positive one. Sometimes, it just requires you to take the following actions:
If you’re in a position of power in your workplace, such as a manager or owner, you’re not going to make it through your career unscathed. Differences of opinion are unavoidable. However, the work relationships you build might positively impact just how these affect you.
Get to know your employees or coworkers, offer branded promotional products and corporate gifts to increase happiness, and build a support network you can fall back on during trying times.
We aren’t born knowing how to navigate office politics. These skills must be learned. If we don’t learn them, we might struggle to manage workplace conflicts.
A number of soft skills can be worth fine-tuning, such as listening, being a team player, and developing your emotional intelligence. Working on your empathy and healthy communication skills can also be crucial for those in leadership positions.
Company culture refers to a business’s behaviors, standards, attitudes, and values. When you don’t have an established company culture, employees don’t always know what’s expected of them to maintain your business’s reputation. You might then notice staff dissatisfaction, bad office politics, and reduced productivity.
Fortunately, not having a positive company culture doesn’t mean you can’t have one. It can require providing employees with equal opportunities, taking care of their needs, and building a sense of pride. You might then enjoy the fruits of your labor, like healthy employee engagement and overall better work motivation.
Give credit where credit is due, but be careful about showing favoritism, even if it’s often touted as a positive thing. Favoritism can sometimes create discontent and contempt when employees start feeling like they’re being overlooked.
Productivity-based rewards are generally an excellent option. This can mean rewarding specific team members for achieving goals and objectives. Such criteria can often minimize the risk of employees accusing managers of bias. You can also offer rewards for your entire workplace, not just individuals. That way, everyone can feel like they’re being recognized for their efforts.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about the inner workings of your business, the easier it becomes to make positive changes. As a result, knowing the different kinds of office politics you might encounter in your workplace can be in your best interest.
Most workplaces have ‘the gossiper.’ This person spreads personal information about employees and hurts their feelings. Some workplaces also have ‘the climber.’ A climber will use those around them to increase their power and status. You might even encounter an office bully. Office bullies interfere with other employees, cause division, and affect productivity levels.
Being aware of these roles – and who those people might be in your workplace – can put you in a powerful position to make positive changes.
Successfully navigating the social landscape in the average workplace isn’t always easy. This can be true whether you’re an employee, a manager, or a business owner. However, when you take some of these actions above, managing workplace politics and fostering a more positive working environment will be much easier.