Office politics may seem like a minor concern, but under the right conditions, they can negatively affect your day-to-day operations in a major way. As a manager, it is your responsibility to keep your team organized, on task, and cooperative, which is why you need to be proactive about the creeping effects of office politics. Use these strategies to keep things running smoothly.
Recognize That Office Politics are Inevitable
Anytime you gather a group of people together in the same space over and over again, disagreements, grudges, and gossip inevitably arise. As a manager, your goal shouldn’t be eliminating office politics – because this is impossible – but rather keeping the politics in check. Meeting your goals is a lot easier if you understand where to focus your efforts.
Set a Positive Example
If you want to keep office politics in check, you have to avoid the behaviors that can make the problem worse. Set a positive example for your employees, and strive to be the kind of communicative and cooperative team member that makes the situation better, not worse.
Address Behaviors, Not Individuals
When office politics do become a problem, it is better to address the specific issue and the problem behavior rather than the individual that caused it. Focusing on a specific person often makes the problem worse because that individual becomes a pariah on the team and they start to resent being singled out. If you do have to address someone directly, make sure you always do it in private and with discretion.
Don’t Play Favorites
In your role as manager, you may be contributing to office politics more than you realize. If you show preferential treatment to an individual or group, you end up alienating everyone else on your team. Don’t avoid praise or reward, but make sure that you treat everyone on your team as equals and give each member an opportunity to excel.
There are some individuals that make the issue of office politics worse because of aspects of their character. They might be great workers, but if they bring tension into the office on a daily basis, they are only compromising your long-term goals. During the recruitment process, look for candidates that you feel would be a good fit for your company culture and that have the strength of character to rise above the pettiness of office politics.
Managing the human element of your office is often more difficult than managing the business concerns. But the best managers look past the bottom line and make a serious effort to reinforce the cohesion of the team. Keep office politics in check, and you will be more productive, efficient, cost-effective, and innovative. Find more resources that can benefit today’s managers by working with JH Staffing Services.