One great example of dysfunction in an organization is office politics and how destructive they can be to a company. In my 30+ years of experience, I have seen leaders destroy businesses by making decisions based on politics; I have never once seen how acting in this political manner can actually benefit an organization. Take a look at our own US Congress; the most political organization of all and also the most ineffective collection of individuals assembled. Look at their approval ratings that have never, in entirety, been lower; why don’t we take a lesson from them?
Now politics should not be part of any organizations MO. If we started to realize how destructive the politics can be in an organization, we would all try and eliminate any part of it. Bickering, jealousy, back-stabbing, and a general distrust for one another exist in many organizations. If we can turn that into an organization full of team work, effectiveness, and efficiency, just imagine how positive that would be. People would be focused on the gains of the corporation rather than individual gain; just think about the results if that could be harnessed into positive energy.
I ran across a posting by Calvin Sun, who wrote this in an article for TechRepublic. He states that there are ten ways to survive office politics.
Live at peace with others
Wouldn’t it be great to appreciate others for their contributions, be it large or small in our minds? Why not try and solicit ideas from those who are less participative and give them credit when their thoughts and ideas are successful. This can build an environment of trust and isn’t that what we need to have an effective team?
Don’t talk out of school
No one appreciates the rumor mill so let’s not be the one to start talking about things that we know little about. Do not be the expert on everything. Do not be the gossip monger. Instead try to mentor and coach others by your example of always pulling for the team and its collective success.
Go out of your way to be helpful. Don’t just show you care about the individuals on your team but actually care. Show some compassion and take the time necessary to build the trust that is required to lead your team. As a leader, why not try mentoring techniques to the less experienced members of your staff, you might be surprised at what you find.
Stay away from gossip
Remember gossip is just that, gossip. In most cases there isn’t a shred of truth in it so let’s not be known for spreading rumors. If we deal with facts folks will start to believe in us and trust us and that will lead to developing strong leadership skills that will cause your team to follow.
Stay out of those talk down the boss sessions
We can always do a better job than the boss. But remember until we walk in his or her shoes we don’t always understand all the detail that went into their decisions. Let’s give them some credit for maybe, just maybe having a little more detail going into their decisions than we give them credit for. Maybe, we don’t know it all. This is difficult but we really never know if our boss had a bad day, got pressure from above him or her to make the decisions they do. I have often found, in my career you really never know who you might be able to trust in an organization and who you can’t. Might just off leaving your opinions of your boss in your vault.
Be a straight arrow
Truth and character prevail here. I have often said the best medicine is truth because if I start to lie or stretch the truth I may not be skilled enough to remember who I told what to. Character is the basis for leadership. Be known for having the highest character. It will serve you well over your career. Truth and character always serve us well.
Address the politics issue openly when appropriate
Your opinions are important but only when someone is ready to listen and take heed. Ina dysfunctional organization that isn’t ready to hear your opinions because they don’t feel they need your opinions or aren’t ready for them they most often are taken the wrong way. Try to be constructive when giving your opinions and don’t get yourself caught up in the political quagmire that is most organizations.
Most folk’s memories aren’t that good. Keep a journal of your successes and failures. Try to learn from each. You will find that it will be very helpful in your learning and development process.
Set incentives to develop teamwork
Create an environment that rewards people to sharing, appreciating one another ideas and creates harmony amongst the team. Create disincentives for rumors, playing political games and being destructive.
Set an example for your staff
You hold the keys to change. If you are a leader following the above steps will cause your team to follow and think of the dynamics you will create within your organizations. This is what leadership is all about. It isn’t about all of the praise you will get within your organization it’s all about how effective and efficient your team is…
I think these 10 values are important for individuals to keep in the back of their minds. Think of how great the work environment would be if we all made a conscience effort to live by these guidelines? Start to think how you can take these set of rules and form them into your everyday work situations. I think you will find you’ve improved your workplace dramatically and you’ve take another step to become that leader you always thought you could become.