Have you ever heard of workplace politics and productivity? At any time that individuals or perhaps groups interact or work together, there is and will always be a common phenomenon. There has been and will continue to be what is known as concordant and those who will also discord. Call it the “attractors and repellents” . This is certain because there will always be likes and dislikes.
These occurrences are usually fueled very little by nature but more by personal interests and motives. Unfortunately, people are assembled to put forces together to promote productivity but rather, by their actions of politics, productivity which is the result of their togetherness suffers. It has been established that politics in institution cannot be eliminated. So the only available antidote is to manage. Politics is not confined to the area of “politics” where nation’s president and other leaders are elected. It is everywhere and in fact much stronger in typical business set-ups.
“Remember, it is earlier stated that the only way available to deal with politics is to manage it.”
Let us now do some reflections on identifying occurrences that give rise to workplace politics and productivity because knowing the problem makes it easier to find solutions.
At the business front, one must first of all come to terms with the fact that politics or some amount of it is present. To believe differently means that you are deliberately being unrealistic. Also, it is important to know dreams, desires, ambitions etc of your work especially if you are the leader and therefore, among other key responsibilities, tasked to manage the politics. Often times, our carrier are not only centered on what we are capable of doing or have done but also largely on chances, opportunities that rise, sometimes power struggles as well as the styles, understandings and philosophies of our work mates.
Perhaps, useful information may be to know and understand yourself in the area of your style and approach to deal with issues as a leader, your unique strengths and weaknesses.
For young executives who have strong carrier aspirations, strong politics at the workplace is a hindrance in many ways. Therefore getting yourselves armed with information to assess whether there is a strong politics at the workplace or an indication of a possible one is very important.
Let us now learn to know some of the possible factors that are fast triggering politics at our workplace.
To start with, it is important to note that, when there is no clear performance evaluation system, workplace politics is being nursed and soon there will be one if there is none already in existence. In that situation, it is likely that merit may go to those who do not deserve. This may mean that, those who run personal errands for bosses, receive their bosses and drive them home from the airports, give gifts etc. are those who are likely to be rewarded irrespective of their performance on their mandated tasks on the job.
The quality of the leader of business or at the workplace also has something to do with creation of workplace politics. At the workplace, the leader consciously or unconsciously casts a deep shadow on the organization – his actions and attitudes are usually seen as the actions and attitudes of the organization. You may have a leader who is intellectually sound and commands a high level of integrity. With that leader, he is a strong motivation to the entire workers of the organization. On the hand, where the leader is weak by the lack of intelligence and integrity, he may be ignorant, take decisions not based on facts but rather how he feels, selfish and will often have short term visions of things. Under such a leader’s regime, no questions are asked and there is also no need for answers. In the process hatred and discomfort breeds, strong politics is created and little attention is given to real work and meaningful contributions.
Let us also discuss another avenue that gives room to workplace politics. It has to do with the employee/employer selection system. Many businesses do not pay sufficient attention to the selection system at the point of entry. This usually leads to the recruitment of workers who may not have the necessary knowledge and skills to execute workplace responsibilities. It even get worrying when people with wrong attitudes are selected.
Often people with wrong attitudes as well as those who are not competent know that they are undeserving and then resort to perpetuate politics and gossips. They also know that to be able to survive, they must attack those who have the capacity. This eventually brings about factions.
To conclude, it must be noted again that workplace politics has never been a blessing to any organization. It denies the organization of deserving levels of productivity. All relevant tools and strategies must be employed to help deal with it. Perhaps, the good news to today’s manager is that there is a wide range of solutions from Information Communication Technology. Companies are drastically reducing human interference and interactions because softwares are aiding routine activities. The effect socially is perhaps unemployment but the business primarily objective of profit maximization will not be compromised.
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