Are Office Politics Killing Your Business?

Office politics are commonplace aspects of most work environments. These “politics” or groupings of people who bond together over a shared place within the organization or feelings, are generally hierarchical. Meaning, when it comes to the different levels of office politics, the big wigs are generally in agreement with the big wigs, the little fish with the little fish, and so on. While this is a common part of working in the modern office, negative office politics can be bad for business, especially if they get out of hand.

 

Office Politics Can Be Detrimental

This is the norm of most workplaces, as noted above. Office politics, with their clique-like nature is not, in an of itself, a bad thing. However, this often leads to differences in opinion that can eat away at a company. Dislike between cliques is common, and there can be a great deal of animosity pointed towards anyone who breaks rank, by way of promotion or other means. This can cause a rift within the office, bringing out negative and competitive feelings that can actually detract from the work at hand. The situation can quickly become more about drama, arguments, and being part of a “team”, than about  what is best for the company.

 

Office Politics Can Lead To Trust Issues

It is when office politics reach the level where there is obvious animosity or distrust amongst the different ranks in an office environment. More time is spent complaining, trying to undermine, and otherwise spent on activities related to the mood of the office, rather than the task at hand. This can lead to a decrease in productivity, which effects that all-important bottom line. It can also break friendships and make work a tense environment. This can lead to an increased number of absences, as well as increased difficulties working together towards a common goal.

 

When emotions are high and people feel like they are competing against one another, or are pitted against one another, people are not likely to make the best decisions or have the greatest judgment. This is not something that you want when you are running a business. Without careful handling, these problems can quickly get out of hand. Getting them under control is no easy matter as it is hard to diffuse deep seated animosity between parties. Being competitive and motivated are not bad things, but when it becomes the focal point of workplace interactions, as opposed to being directed at the welfare of the business, the business will suffer.

 

Keep Tabs To Prevent Animosity

Stress from the top down, gaps in communication or understanding between different levels of management, poor employee communication and more can all lead to negative office politics. This can lead to in-fighting, sabotage, and even just a plain reduction in productivity due to stress and displeasure with the work environment. Politics are always going to be part of the workplace environment, as there are different levels of power that draw people together, as well as the desire to move up within one’s field of work. However, it is important to keep tabs on the mood of your office so that the politics do not turn negative, threatening the stability of your business.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

Comments

  1. Two of my most memorable jobs were devoid of office politics for different reasons. The first was Stone & Webster in Boston, the builder of most of the nuclear power plants in this country. The reason it was devoid was two-fold. One, I was friends with my boss and a few of my fellow staff. Second, I was a self-supervised employee on the night shift, so I only came in contact with anyone on a constant basis for about 15 minutes when the regular day shift went home and I came in. To this day, 20 years later, my boss and I are still in contact. The second company was Transamerica when they were in the second tallest skyscraper in downtown KCMO. Everyone acted like an adult and a professional (rare for some bizarre reason in the workplace). I must also commend Transamerica for having the tightest training program I’ve ever seen.

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