Navigating office politics is an unavoidable part of working with your colleagues. One wrong move and you could unfortunately find yourself the target of some nasty drama, or even worse, participating in the nasty drama.
LEARN HOW TO NAVIGATE OFFICE POLITICS WITH THESE 4 TIPS
1. CLEAR UP CONFUSION WITH NEW EMPLOYEES
In many cases, office politics come into play when someone feels offended or the hierarchy of authority is not respected. We have found that in most cases new employees do these things by completely by accident with no ill will what-so-ever. As part of new employee onboarding, be sure they know exactly who they report to and who to ask when they have questions.
This is generally a great time to introduce your new hire to the office culture. Many companies have unwritten rules such as staying until your work is done, even if that means overtime and vice versa. Clarifying these aspects of your office culture will prevent your new employee from any accidental offenses.
Taking a new employee and explaining the ins and outs of the office will go a long way towards eliminating confusion, misunderstandings, and drama right from the start. This will help your new employee figure out how to navigate office politics within your particular organization as well.
2. EMPHASIZE “TEAM”
You need to emphasize that you’re all a team and that even the different departments are all working together towards a common goal. Make it clear that there are no silos within your organization. This should be noticeable in your leadership style: be fair with the distribution of resources and don’t let anyone feel like you’re playing favorites. Regular team building activities can help boost morale and encourage teamwork.
Healthy competition is high in the workplace, but too often employees can let their competitive edge push them towards drama. Competition should never be so fierce that different departments have to fight each other for resources, or that employees continuously try to undermine each other to make themselves look better.
3. ENFORCE A NO-GOSSIP POLICY
Gossip can be used as a tool to bring other employees down, especially if someone is gunning for their position. Although you can’t legally forbid the usual griping and complaints that people sometimes have about their jobs, you can institute a policy that bans harmful or malicious gossip within the workplace.
It’s a team effort to make this a reality, but everyone benefits from working in an environment where they don’t need to fear people talking about them behind their backs. Just be sure that your policy doesn’t violate the National Labor Relations Act: Our team of Certified HR Professionals can help you craft a compliant no-gossip policy.
4. MODEL THE BEHAVIOR YOU WANT TO SEE
The best way to avoid the drama and deal with office politics is to show that you don’t condone that behavior. As we have written in past blogs, learning to handle conflict is a crucial step in your career. If someone comes to you to gossip about another employee, it’s up to you to not engage.
Instead, demonstrate with your actions the kind of office culture you’d like to see. The easiest way to figure out how to navigate office politics is only to model the behavior you’d want your coworkers to exhibit. Once they know they can’t come to you as a source of gossip, they’ll most likely take a hint.
Learning how to navigate office politics is an ongoing process. Fill out our contact form below for a complimentary discussion so we can work out a plan for your business. Or you can call us at (657) 258-0577 to learn more.