When we think of workplace politics we usually think of it with a negative connotation. Workplace or office politics tend to get a bit messy at times, as employees or team members clamor for attention and sometimes take credit for work they didn’t really do.
The real truth is that workplace politics isn’t actually a bad thing. The problem is that instead of simply learning to work with others, some people view it as a game and, as such, resort to manipulative tactics in order to play what they perceive is a game. Workplace politics simply is not a game. It’s life.
So what can you do as a manager to help deal with workplace politics? Start by creating the most positive work environment possible. Make sure your employees have enough work to do without overloading them. Employees with a reasonable workload are less likely to start trouble when they are bored. Make sure you are never acting in a manipulative manner – your employees will mimic whatever you do.
Another thing you can do to curb manipulative office politics is make sure your employees are interested in the work they have to do. Boring work is hard to focus on and if your employees aren’t focused they’ll start looking for other things to do with their time. Sometimes making work interesting isn’t as much in the work itself as it is in making sure your employees feel creative about how and why they need to do the work.
Finally, take a real vacation and encourage your employees to do the same. A real vacation constitutes at least a full week away from the office. Tired employees who never get away can easily become burnt out. If they burn out they’ll spend less time focused on the work itself and more time focused on socialiazing or personal work.
Workplace politics can be serious at times but for the most part it can be controlled if you keep your employees relaxed and happy. Do you have problems with workplace politics? If so, share your stories. We’d love to hear how you handled them!
Originally published: 10 February, 2010
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