Overcoming Negative Organizational Politics

February 10th, 2012

Whenever you have an environment where there is inner-competition between departments or even between different job levels, you’re going to experience organizational politics. Most of us associate this term with negative images, such as gossip, back-stabbing and a stressful work environment.
It is only natural for employees and managers to want to compete with each other. It’s part of our innate human nature to want to better ourselves. The key is finding a way to do that so that it is not done at the expense of others.

When employees and managers begin using organizational politics in a positive way, the entire company benefits and they reap their own personal benefits as well.
Let’s take a look at just a few ways to turn negative organizational politics around.

1. Treat everyone fairly. Across the board, everyone should be treated alike. Removing favoritism helps cut down on inner-office squabbles as well as gossip and makes employees feel as though the playing field is level. This also has the added benefit of reducing work-related stress.

2. Establish merit based rewards on a team level – not an individual level. Again, singling out an employee may have unintended consequences. It is better to focus on the team aspect, rather than individual performance. This pulls everyone together and eliminates the desire to succeed at the cost of others.

3. Hold team building workshops. Helping employees and managers to recognize traits that go against the team will, in the long run, help you build not only a better team, but also team players. While some may look at team building exercises as a waste of time, they do help bring everyone together as a unit, rather than having them focus solely on their own performance.

Pay attention to your workforce, or assign someone in human resources to monitor the situation. If you’ve had problems with negative organizational politics in the past, the time to do something about it is right now. Nip these issues in the bud and work on turning your team towards the positive.
It may take some time, but you will see results.

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