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Ways To Avoid Office Politics At Workplace

Gone are the days when offices used to be having an atmosphere where there was so less feeling of competition, when people somewhere had a relaxed attitude of living a life, being satisfied with whatever life / destiny had to offer. I remember then, that people used to work for same company all their life (even in private companies), yet office politics wasn’t rampant. The easy-bank-loan philosophy wasn’t popular at all and people used to wait for their retirement to build their own houses. LIFE WAS SO SLOW. Today, it is so very opposite. There is an unusual hurry to become rich, get ahead in life, there is lack of patience in youth these days, their aspirations I find sometimes so very unrealistic. And this often results in office politics.

Employees engage in Office Politics to win appreciation from their superiors and tarnish the reputation of their colleagues and junior employees.

 

Simply put by Google, “Office politics are strategies that people play to gain advantage, personally or for a cause they support. The term often has a negative connotation, in that it refers to strategies people use to seek advantage at the expense of others or the greater good”. Individuals who do not believe in working hard depend on office politics, often nasty kind, at their workplace simply to save their job. But you don’t have the power to choose your colleagues. Changing jobs frequently is also no solution to office politics.  One must avoid being a part of Gossips and Office Politics to help create a positive ambiance and atmosphere at one’s workplace.

Following are some ways to reduce and avoid office politics at workplace:

 

Job Satisfaction

Job mismatch is one of the major reasons for people getting involved in office politics.

If you are a Manager, ensure that your subordinates are deployed on tasks they like or have a natural affiliation towards. Yes, there are going to be some tasks that will be imposed on the employees from time to time, to ensure organization’s needs are met, but assigning unrealistic tasks, having no or little connection with a particular employee, may incur some cost.

If you are an employee, it is your duty to ensure that you, as a job seeker, fully understand the Job Description & what is expected of you, from time to time. You cannot simply blame your boss or others, for a half hearted job done by yourself, or for your lack of interest. Alternatively, discuss this with your boss.

Whether you are a Manager or a subordinate, do note that people involve in office politics when they have a lot of free time and nothing innovative to do. We will have to find ways to ensure they are engaged fully in their jobs, such that they do not get into any other unnecessary stuff.

Maintaining Clear Transparency

Transparency is the key to reduce office politics

(Image Source: OwnerIQ)

Transparency must be maintained at all levels to avoid gossiping at workplace. Everybody must be aware of the goals of the organization, what is expected of whom, the time-frame within which it is to be achieved etc. As a Manager, it is expected that you do not engage into creating confusion or fear amongst your own colleagues or give different information about the same event to different employees.

Promoting Team Work

Team Work

(Image Source: The Guardian)

An organization and it’s Management should believe strongly in promoting team work within all cadres of employees. Taking everybody concerned in loop time & again is one way of doing this. Handling out different treatment to different people regularly may not serve in right interests eventually. Celebrating small milestones and festivals together may also create the rapport we are looking for. Adhering to Company Policies is another area to be looked into, if we have to work on promoting a liking for eachother and team work.

Open Discussions & Learning Forums

Allow all people concerned, right from junior most to senior ones to have an open discussion, even sometimes involving debates. Problems arise when there are a lot of Closed Door Meetings and people get different ideas from different people and when there is no common picture.

Subordinates must have a relatively easy access to their superior’s cabin. When I say relatively, I mean the junior must feel that his boss is approachable but at the same time, he is not somebody to go to for every small matter.

Employees must not play with words or take all others for a ride by diverting the topic and finding reasons of how a particular task cannot be achieved. Remember, your organization pays you for your hard work and not finding faults in others. Maintain the decorum of the workplace.

Keeping seniors in loop in emails and / or orally is also one of the ways to build trustworthy relations between bosses & subordinates. That way they are aware of what is happening at ground level and are not suddenly caught unaware of a situation when it is almost out of control.

Hierarchies must be well defined

Hierarchy

(Image Source: China Business Online)

Hierarchies must be well defined, leaving no confusion what-so-ever. I find that whenever you newly join a company, you are in acceptance mode of everything that is told to you, including who your boss it. Problem occurs when one of your senior colleague gets promoted as your boss and suddenly you find it difficult to accept it. Typically it’s all in the mind. If I am your new boss’ superior, I will have to make it clear to you that YOU WILL HAVE TO REPORT TO MR. XYZ and that there is no choice. How to convey the message depends on the situation and the level of aggression or concern of the subordinate.

Besides, avoiding partiality, avoiding over-reacting, non usage of abusive language etc is also an expected pattern of behaviour that promotes creation of positive atmosphere. Do not immediately take action against anybody just because some other fellow colleague has said something negative. Rely on evidence, not on mere words. Avoid backstabbing or making fun of others’ weaknesses.

How did you find my post ? If you have any other great ideas to curb office politics, hurry up and give your comments !

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