Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Politics at Workplace

Politics – the other face of the creative, innovative and manipulative and human mind, which always seeks power, recognition and authority. So how can there be no politics at the place where hundreds and thousands of human minds are spending most part of their day and there’s a constant struggle for power and recognition.

Yes, double standards, secrecy, camps, demoting others and/or self promotion, in short – politics is all over the workplace. No organisation is and will be completely free from the politics. 
Office politics refers to the use and manipulation of situations, power and people to secure their position, gain from the situation, let others down or even increase their own power, image and
status within the organisation. The results or the benefits can be tangible or intangible, depending upon the situation. Politics at workplace is a game can be played equally well by a single player or teams together, can result in the interest and benefit of the organisation or go against it, can benefit those who don’t play or can throw them out of the organisation. It is a double edged sword which can either create a happy, dynamic and improved environment at the workplace or can destroy it. Politics at workplace is often hard to resist and be away from. It compels and makes you compete. Although a part of all the organisations across the world, the politics at workplace has taken the more advanced and dangerous form in India, where the people staying away from it are being seen as a threat. Office politics has made employees good actors, hiding the facts and even true self from their own colleagues and organisation and being hypocrites for their reasons.
Grey side of the issue
Every workplace has conflicts, but how the employees and the organisation tackle it goes a long way in ensuring the success of the employees as well as the organisation. Politics at workplace is complex, and can turn the organisation into an ugly and nasty battlefield. Most often, the power is the bone of contention. The powerful employee can take advantage of the situations and manipulate things.

The employees can take the things to them at a personal level. This, in turn, can harm their personal and professional lives. Playing on other people’s emotions to make things work for them, people have stooped to such levels where they have put their own morals and conscious aside.

But the organisation feels the brunt of the continuous politics at workplace when it starts effecting the overall performance, efficiency and productivity of the organisation. This is mainly due to the considerable amount of time spent on the politics and thinking about the strategies and the moves, rather than the job and the work. Ultimately, this can lead to losses for the organisation and even the loss of jobs for the employees.
Workplace Politics: A necessary evil
Again, the question arises about the employees who do not become a part to this politics at their workplace. Experts say that giving up to the politics without being a part of it and fighting it, especially when it is unfair, is not advisable either. Sometimes, the politics becomes the necessary evil simply for self defense. As often, the people staying away are taken as a threat and become the victim of the workplace politics and are eliminated.

As it has become unavoidable to avoid the politics at today’s workplace, it has become necessary for every employee to:
  • connect to people,
  • try to identify the source of power,
  • observe and be aware of the happenings around, people’s strengths and weaknesses and their emotional intelligence.

Avoiding politics at workplace
Although it is practically impossible to make your workplace free from the politics, but the organisation and the employees can follow certain ethics for themselves to make their workplace healthier:
  • Avoid distorting or manipulating the truth and the facts.
  • Be yourself. Don’t have different faces to suit different people and different situations.
  • Be fair in your dealings. Take decisions based on other’s performance and not on the basis of your relations with them.
  • Be flexible, approachable and accessible to others. Rigidity can isolate you.
  • Communicate – Lack of proper communication is the root cause of most of the problems. Therefore, ensure a timely and open communication system. Hiding information, rumors or distorted information can aggravate the situation and problem. Proper communication will also help to combat the effect of gossip.
  • Have a broader perspective. Don’t work to satisfy your ego every time. Give a fair chance to everyone to put forward their thoughts.
  • Last but not the least; be clear in your conscious. Don’t compromise on your morals and ethics and, don’t hesitate to apologize if you realize that you are wrong.

It would be right to conclude that being a part of the interpersonal relations, politics at workplace is prevalent everywhere, and is unavoidable in most cases. But it’s more important to play the game right. Know the rules, stay true to yourself, don’t harm someone personally or his/her career, don’t take grudges home. Try to create a win-win situation for yourself, others and the organisation. Politics at workplace – can be good or bad – depends on how people take it and make it!

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