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How Should A Manager Shield Their Team From Office Politics?

Over the years, we have attached a negative connotation to office politics. Not only is it distracting, but it can also hurt team dynamics. But is that all there is to office politics? At times, it can be helpful too! To help you navigate office politics effectively, this blog has detailed information on the different types of politics, their effects, and ways to shield your team from them. By understanding the basics, you’ll be able to manage it effectively and promote a healthy work environment for your team.

What is Office Politics?

We often picture dirty backroom deals and heated debates when we think of politics. But office politics is actually a lot more complicated than that! Office politics refers to the interactions between individuals in positions of authority, like managers and supervisors, and those who work under them, i.e. the employees. These interactions can take many forms, from policy disagreements to petty competition for promotion.

Office politics can be a tricky thing to navigate. It can come in many forms, from backstabbing and nepotism to sabotage and passive-aggressive behavior. Workplace politics is usually done by individuals who want to improve their social status and professional respect. Generally, the agenda of indulging in office politics is the individual benefit, not the whole team’s welfare. Also, there is a common tendency to assign the pejorative of office politics to unfavorable activities that are justified in their own right.

Employees should be aware of these activities to know their expectations. Further, managers must be mindful of their tendencies and work to avoid confrontations that could lead to drama or conflict within the team. In short, office politics is a form of manipulation where people use their position to get ahead in the organization.

If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed by office politics, the best way to avoid getting caught in the middle is to be aware of the signs and stay on top of your game. Although it is usual to have a negative opinion of office politics, knowing how to navigate the environment of the workplace is an essential skill to have for success – more so for managers and leaders who have to look into the internal politics of their team even when they may not be involved directly.

How Does Office Politics Impact Team Dynamics?

Politics can be a tricky thing, especially in the workplace. When politics is played in teams, it can hurt morale and team dynamics. It can occur in many different ways, but one common way is when individuals try to get ahead or manipulate others for their benefit. This can create tension and competition within the team, leading to discord. The major impact of office politics includes:

Creating Conflict

Politics also often play into who gets credit for what – whoever is in charge usually has more credibility with other team members. If someone feels they are not being given the recognition they deserve, they may lash out at colleagues to gain favor. This can hurt team cohesion and create disruptions in the flow of work.

Politics In Office Hampers Collaborative Efforts

Such politics can negatively impact team dynamics if managers aren’t careful. When leaders don’t understand the game of politics, they can inadvertently give power to those who use it for their advantage. This can lead to division and resentment among team members, which managers want to avoid at all costs.

Continue reading here for Top 5 Ways For Managers To Facilitate Collaboration.

Politics In Workplace Causes Stress

Politics in the workplace can also create a lot of stress. When individuals constantly worry about who is pulling the strings and whether they are being treated fairly, it can sap their energy. This ultimately affects their ability to do their job effectively, which may lead to unhappy employees and decreased morale. However, sometimes the stress can be helpful as well. A bit of healthy competition can push employees to do more at work.

Office Politics Demotivates Employees

When politics plays a role in the workplace, it can demotivate employees. This is because they may feel like their efforts are not valued or do not have a voice within the organization. Due to office politics, some people may be given undue credit, which will be unfair to hard-working employees who have been working sincerely. In addition, office politics can lead to jealousy and resentment among team members.

Read more about Top 8 Employee Motivation Techniques For Managers.

How To Manage Workplace Politics? 6 Effective Tips

Workplace politics exists everywhere up to some extent. Consequently, it is vital to learn how to work around office politics. There are a few basic steps that can help protect your team from office politics:

Be Aware Of The Dynamics Of The Team

Office politics often runs around the existing hierarchies and networks in the workplace. A manager who wants to protect their team from negative politics in the workplace must begin by identifying the potential centers for organizing these activities. This includes understanding who is in charge, their power base, and where they derive their support. Recognize any hidden agendas before they start to take hold. Moreover, you need to be aware of the setup of the informal networks within the team.

Consciously Avoid Becoming A Part Of Office Politics

Do not get pulled into petty rivalries or game playing – this will only strengthen the grip that those involved in politics have on your team and ultimately damage productivity. As a manager, you must be conscious of avoiding becoming a part of politics at work yourself. In order to overcome the challenges it poses, you will need to view the whole picture objectively, which will be impossible if you are inclined towards a particular group or people. In such a situation, biases can creep in and affect your decision-making ability.

Emphasize On Communication

Communicate with all team members regularly, so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. This will help avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts arising from office politics. The menace of miscommunication can be used to sow the roots of disruption. Without regular communication, the employees might feel misguided and eagerly agree to grapevines. Therefore, the panacea is to curtail the opportunities for misunderstanding.

On the contrary, you should adopt effective communication as your crucial mantra. In addition to assertively communicating your agenda, you must also practice active listening. Set clear, achievable goals for your team and ensure everyone knows them. This will encourage teamwork and cooperation instead of competition, leading to tension and conflict. These are essential skills for managers that help develop an evolving understanding of team dynamics.

Avoid Creating A Toxic Culture At Work

A toxic culture threatens the health of your team. Negative politics describes how people manipulate and control others to achieve their ends. It involves using power and authority to push, pull or coerce individuals into doing what they want, rather than working together towards a common goal. Some of the most common methods of negative politics involve intimidation, threatening behavior, or sexual harassment. This can have a devastating impact on team morale as well as productivity. As such, you must be aware of these techniques to spot them before they have an effect and take steps to prevent them from taking hold. This is a crucial step in shielding your team from the negative impact.

Develop People Management Skills

It is also essential to develop people skills to work effectively with others. This includes being able to approach and communicate with other team members constructively and resolving any conflicts that may arise. It is also essential to be polite, professional and respectful at all times – these characteristics will go a long way in building good relationships with co-workers. Being open and transparent ensures that all team members know what is happening and why. Managers can do this through regular communication channels such as email, chat or conferences.

Being honest and upfront with others is also essential, especially when things go wrong. This will help build trust and confidence, which will lead to a better working environment. Moreover, you will need to learn strategies for dealing with difficult people. Further, you will not be able to make office politics extinct. At best, your efforts can reduce it and minimize the harm. Some aspects of politics will continue to exist in the workplace. You will need excellent people management skills to navigate through these situations smartly.

Create A Positive Company Culture

One of the most important things you can do to protect your team from the adverse effects of office politics is creating a positive company culture. A strong and supportive culture can help reduce tension and improve morale, which will lead to better performance. There are several ways that you can create a positive company culture. All in all, it will help you ease out tensions quicker and reduce the need for office politics. It happens in the absence of honesty and straightforward channels for communicating. Providing these in a comfortable environment will ensure employees feel secure in their jobs. Effectively, they will not see a need to indulge in office politics.

Managing office politics can be a challenge for any manager. However, following these simple tips can help shield your team from politics and foster a constructive environment.

Conclusion

In this article, we examined the definition of office politics and discussed some of its primary effects in the workplace. We have also looked at practical ways to manage office politics and foster a positive working environment. Office politics can be a challenging experience for team members, as it can lead to negative emotions and tension. To help your team navigate this tricky terrain, we’ve outlined the different types of office politics, provided tips on how to shield your team from politics, and provided advice on navigating politics effectively. Make sure to read through all of the content below and take the necessary steps to protect your team from office politics!

Use assertive communication to emphasize your team’s core values at work.

Use assertive communication to emphasize your team’s core values at work.

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