How To Recognize Early Signs Of Office Politics

The components of an organization’s corporate culture such as vision, values and practices are important considerations for potential employees evaluating a job offer. At the same time, certain elements such as office politics can create a negative impression for a new joiner and make him or her vary of the office environment.  According to a study, around 53% of workers believe that playing along with the ongoing workplace politics could work favorably for them by helping them get a promotion. On the other hand, 47% of workers feel that that office politics negatively impacts their productivity and is one of the top stress inducing factors.

Regardless of which group you fall into, the truth remains that  rampant office politics not only disturbs the organizational culture and work environment but also affects the mental well-being of employees. Here are some signs that can alert you to the fact that your workplace is bogged down in office politics.

1.    Lack of direct communication

If your colleagues take their issues  to the supervisors and complain to them, instead of talking directly to their co-workers when they have a problem, it can create an environment of distrust  and lead to office politics. Gossip, rumours, put-downs and blame games are the most common signs of office politics. According to a recent study by TimesJobs, around 60% of respondents hated their current jobs, with 50% of them saying their problem is more with the people they work with rather than the nature of their job.

2.    Unfocused and unprofessional management

Politics could be at play if managers are overly obsessed about employees’ “face time” in the workplace and are more concerned about their arrival and departure rather than the work that they do.  Unprofessional management tends to focus on pointing out employee’s mistakes rather than what they do right or what they need to do more to better contribute to the workplace.   71% of employees who feel their manager does not focus on their strengths are actively disengaged at work.

3.    Unhappy Employees

Office politics can also create an unpleasant environment where employees are always serious, unhappy and have no direction. Unhappy workers are less productive, less engaged and less creative. According to a survey by Robert Half , happiness quotient is a big driver of productivity for the workforce. When enquired about what motivates them and how they stay happy, most respondents (79%) saw it as a joint responsibility between an employee and an employer. Other factors which help in boosting the happiness quotient were pride (51%), respect (51%) and feeling appreciated (50%) – factors that can get easily undermined in the presence of office politics.

4.    Higher levels of attrition

Office politics is a big deterrent for highly skilled employees. Accomplished and competent employees typically do not waste their time in an unproductive job environment and leave for other companies to prove their abilities. Office politics is listed as one of the major reasons for the best talent quitting their jobs, according to a  survey.

If you find that politics is prevalent in your workplace, create and execute proactive strategies for a healthier and cleaner work culture. Maintain your integrity at all times and avoid gossip or being a party to such politics. Instead, focus on your goals, communicate with everyone, be apolitical, and strive to achieve team as well as organizational objectives. What should you do if you have tried to implement all the measures and yet office politics continues to interfere with your ability to contribute? It may be time to move on to better job opportunities. But before taking such a drastic decision, seek guidance from a trusted colleague or a mentor to figure out if it is in fact the right time for you to consider switching jobs.


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