Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace. In its simplest form, office politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.
There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics.
Office politics, or how power and influence are managed in your organization, will be a part of your career whether you choose to participate in them or not. Some workers say they don't want to get caught up in politics at work, but most experts argue that playing the game is crucial to your career success. By not getting involved, you may find your talents ignored, your success limited, and you may feel left out of the loop. Politics get nasty when an employee is out for his or her personal gain alone. Think of playing office politics as a game of strategy through which you are able to get the resources and influence you need to accomplish your goals. Most often those who are diplomatic, respectful and build partnership with effective people win. What creates office politics
1. Insufficient / Limited Resources
People and teams within organizations often have to compete for limited resources; this can lead to a kind of "tribal conflict" where teams compete to satisfy their needs and objectives, even when this is against the greater good.
2. A too competitive work environment
For many people, gaining promotion is important, and this can create competition between individuals, or misalignment between the team's objectives and those of individuals within it.
3. Subjective performance standards
A subjective performance evaluation typically relates to intangible employee qualities and is based on subjective feedback from the manager as opposed to objective, measurable feedback. The performance evaluator provides his own subjective assessment of the employee's performance in a subjective evaluation. Common subjective criteria include personality, attitude, appearance, behavior and social interaction.
4. Unclear job definition
Job description describes the nature of the work to be done by stating the purpose and main responsibilities. When it’s not clear to workers how to succeed, it’s harder for them to be confident, enjoy their work, and feel they’re doing a good job. If the job description isn’t explained clearly, if the requirements are constantly changing and hard to understand, or if expectations are otherwise unclear, workers are at higher risk of burnout or involve in office politics to gain the recognition.
5. Emotional insecurity
Most people care passionately about decisions at work and this encourages political behavior as they seek to get their way. Decisions at work are impacted by both work-related goals and personal factors.
Negative Vs Positive Office Politics
"Office politics" are the strategies that people play to gain advantage, personally or for a cause they support. The term often has a negative connotation, in that it refers to strategies people use to seek advantage at the expense of others or the greater good. In this context, it often adversely affects the working environment and relationships within in. Good "office politics", on the other hand, help you fairly promote yourself and your cause, and is more often called networking and stakeholder management.
Positive or negative – politics happens. The philosopher Plato said, "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." And this hold true today in the workplace: If you don't participate in the political game, you risk not having a say in what happens and allowing people with less experience, skill or knowledge to influence the decisions being made around you....
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