Office politics are unavoidable
Essentially office politics is all about understanding the unwritten rules that exist in an organisation, which affect how decisions are made – from which projects get allocated which budgets, to who gets the next Finance Director role.
“Man is by nature a political animal”- Aristotle
However, organisations do vary in how political they are. In those with the highest level of office politics there is more stress. People are demotivated, less engaged, and career progression is stalled for many. It may even lead to organisations losing talent. They are certainly not getting the most out of those who stay. These workers prefer to ‘opt out’ of the politics and just ‘do the day job’. One of the aspects that I often cover with clients in I do 1-2-1 sessions and workshops on political intelligence, is how political they believe their organisation to be. Later we look at the diagnostic results for the interaction and behaviour at work within the organisation driving office politics.
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It may surprise you to know that public sector and not-for-profit organisations are amongst the most political. This conclusion has come from the extensive research carried out by the Academy for Political Intelligence over the last 20 years
Indicators of Office Politics
So I’m sure you’re wondering which activities suggest a high level of office politics. Here are just three:
- Reorganisation of departments and responsibilities tend to always favour some people more than others.
- People are often critical of others when they are not present, but are never or rarely critical when they are present.
- The organisation’s ‘informal’ communication channels, i.e. the ‘grapevine’, are often better informed about what is going on than the ‘formal’ communication channels.
The Academy of Political Intelligence works with individuals and groups through the entire list to assess how political your organisation is on the scale.
Worried that your staff are suffering from the strain of office politics? Use our Leadership Coaching so you can develop and revitalise the workplace.