The office 'Raaga'
Dewanshi Mukherjee, has been working for a decade now and has put her heart and soul into her job. There have been highs and there have been lows; nothing has been consistent and smooth; yet, she's an achiever and has got what she wanted but there's one thing, which has been uniform all through her years at her workplace:'The office politics'.
Every office has its share of maliciously judgmental colleagues who backstab, spread rumors and harass mentally. Scheming at the workplace is the biggest drain on employees' energy. It saps individual potential and hampers organization' productivity.
It's a 'necessary evil' one's got to learn to live with, says Avneet K.Chhatwal.
An employee spends a majority of one's waking hours at his place of work. Politicking, comes naturally for some and, others develops it over the period of time out of necessity for personal growth like self recognition, promotions, increments et al. You can not wish it away! Can you? Whatever be the case, the fact remains that this is not something alien to the working atmosphere alone. Most of us get used to it right from school and college. The same attitudes are carried to the workplace as individuals grow up and join organizations.
An individual who spends eight or ten hours a day in a working group tends to develop a subculture of their own which can take different forms.
From An Employees point of view
The most common playing fields are the office canteens which are the hub of such politicking, where discussions about organizational movements (hiring/firing), higher management, gossips about affairs, delicate issues, problems et al are discussed and disseminated.
Technology also contributes its bit to the gossip network in an organization. The practice of sending emails containing transfers, personal matters, and tiny miny organizational details are mass distributed via such media, which can cause acute embarrassment or a legal headache.
From An Employers point of view
As a manager your opinion may differ significantly from those whom you supervise. Jasoos are widely placed across all levels in an organization who spy on the activities of the employees and keep management updated about it. The policy of Britishers i.e DARP (Divide and Rule Policy) is also brought to practice to safeguard a corporate interest.
While it is impossible to say which perception is more valid, you can benefit as a manager by paying close attention to the political undercurrents in your department.
Keeping office politicking at a low level would be the safest bet; whether from employers or from an employees' point of view. But how real is the necessity to be part of office politics? And how can the negative elements be mitigated. Here are a few tips that can help manage the issues of office politics.
Try to avoid high profile, closed-door meetings whenever possible as they can lead to unhealthy atmosphere. Instead, try to keep your employees abreast of the latest happenings. The more you can remove any sense of mystery from office the better it would be.
Unnecessary comparison with co-workers sitting at the same level can be divisive. A level of competition that can discourage your employees should not be undertaken though in some cases it can be a strong motivator. Try to know the people better through active communication.
Praising the team as a whole and rewarding not just a single person but the entire team can boost the morale of the employees. A feeling of team spirit should be always encouraged in the employees.
Favoring just a particular person intentionally or unintentionally can corrupt the office atmosphere. Make sure the rules of business ethics are followed by one and all. When it comes to work, make sure that the team gets all your support. Do not be partial in giving your support.
Keep your employees' workload at reasonable levels and try to ensure that assignments are evenly distributed. This will not only speed up the work but also help meet the deadlines.
The Humorous Touch
Try to break down complex situations into simpler ones by incorporating an element of humor in it. Beating stress by cracking non-personal jokes can change the mood significantly.
Clear-cut two-way communication can help identify and diffuse potentially serious conflicts. Understanding the problems of employees and helping them in times of need can ultimately lead to higher staff productivity and commitment.
Thus this type of awareness will help you take action to reduce workplace tensions, while you probably won't be able to eliminate internal struggles entirely, you can open lines of communication and create a more supportive work environment. This cannot happen by just ignoring the presence of politics, but by being keenly aware of it and in some instances being part of it.