Dealing with office politics

But that’s the challenge – to change the system more than it changes you.” – Michael Pollan

Do you feel the pressure to make your organization look good, no matter what? For politically dominant workplaces, this kind of influence is, of course, all too familiar. Backstabbing, gossiping and the dangerously flirtatious dance of the corporate moth around the office flame can be a pricey affair.

Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Man is an interdependent being. We all need each other’s support to make a success of our personal endeavors. But we often mistake this interdependence for dependence and become accustomed to seeking people’s approval or permission at the risk of betraying our own values and principles.

Reflect on the following questions:

  • Do you do what is right or what is easy?
  • Do you strive for being real or fall into the political trap?
  • Do you own up to your weaknesses and let others own up to theirs?
  • Do you judge people even before you meet them?
  • Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?
  • Do you always keep your principles and purposes in sight?

A British survey found that office politics and gossip cost the UK 7.8 billion GBP in productivity loss each year, and that managers spend an hour a day dealing with such problems among their employees.

In the United States, the estimated productivity loss because of stress is more than $100 billion each year. While these statistics are alarming, most companies will not change the way they function until they truly understand the connection between politics and performance.

Even though it remains a problematic issue worldwide, there are steps you can take to fight it, such as open communication, encouraging constructive feedback and rewarding transparency.

Challenge yourself with the following “How to” exercises

1)    DON’T play the politics game. Instead, focus on action, integrity and results.

2)     WHEN a peer is gossiping or back-biting, walk away if you are unable to stop him from doing so; don’t participate, otherwise you become an enabler.

For more tips on how to deal with office politics, read our forthcoming book, ‘What You seek is Seeking You’ co-authored by Azim Jamal & Brian Tracy.






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