How Office Politics Damages Your Organisation
If you are starting to see a trend of people leaving without a ‘real’ reason, it is definitely time to start to investigate why.
A likely culprit could be: Office politics.
The backbiting, spreading rumours, “sucking up” to the right people to gain favour and even the gossip all swirl together into the pool of what’s dubbed office politics. Any of it could end up causing people to become so fed up or upset that they look for a new job—or worse, just quit because it’s intolerable.
As much as business owners or executives might want to dismiss issues like office gossip as frivolous and not worth their time, these situations easily can bubble up and cause major friction within a team.
And that’s the first reason you need to address office politics early.
Little Things Become Big Problems
A co-worker snaps at another, or perhaps they make a snarky comment. The first time they do this, you might be able to write it off as a bad day.
But when that person continues to berate people day in and day out over seemingly small things, it starts to become tiresome to team members quickly. Things which normally would not impact team become a massive issue that quickly eats into productivity. Team members can then be focused on ‘catching other staff members out’ or on the flip side, feeling like they need to constantly justify themselves as opposed to focusing on the job at hand.
Keeping a watchful eye during meetings is a good way to watch for side comments or a team member “throwing someone under the bus” at any opportunity. If you notice this at more than one meeting, it is worth checking around to see if there’s something amiss.
Another way to combat office politics is to be visible—when leadership is rarely seen then the staff members can feel like they need to compete for their bosses attention.
Where this can’t be possible, then make sure you have strong values that team members measure each other against to hold them accountable to.
Increase in Stress
Dealing with an office bully or stressful environment where people feel on edge drains the staff, and it makes people dread coming to work.
Stress, as we all know, can cause health issues even if we don’t recognize it at first. Migraines, ulcers, nausea and more can be attributed to stress—meaning all of sudden you might see an increase in sick days.
And if it’s particularly bad, then this could even lead to a stress claim.
To also be aware of, we are also seeing a trend where the perpetrators are lodging complaints about somebody else in the organisation prior to any staff taking action. So be careful, because sometimes the loudest complainers could be the worst offenders.
Don’t discount the effects of office politics on the bottom line.
First, think about the amount of time you might spend talking with your staff, looking into the legitimacy of complaints and having discussions with HR about how to handle the problem.
Second, consider the financial strain of investigating claims—from interviewing staff (investigator plus time out of the business to go through the process), hiring legal representation if required and/or recruitment costs (if invariably someone quits over the whole mess).
Couldn’t your time be spent doing something that helps your profit margin instead?
Be sure to follow along to next week to find out how you can get rid of the backbiting.
Get Help (and Save by Booking This Month!)
BespokeHR offers assessments that can help you gain understanding of the various personalities you have in your office, which will help you better manage.
This month only, we’re offering 20% off DISC Assessments when booked. We’ll take the DISC model and help you apply it to your team.
Get in touch for more information.