How and why of office politics

ONE CANNOT deny the fact that office politics exist, and one cannot run away from it. From the first day of a person’s career to the last day in the office before he or she retires, office politics affects all irrespective of caste, creed, and religion. One’s performance at work, relationship with peers, and even the future of the company could be determined by office politics.
 
Women seem to be at greater risk of becoming a bullying target. Men are more likely to participate in aggressive bullying behavior. However if the bully is a woman, her target is more likely to be a woman as well as it is generally seen in most cases. Office politics can simply be defined as the differences between people at work, i.e., differences in opinions, conflicts of interests, and differences in ego of persons involved. It may include workstation conflict, psychological manipulation, workplace aggression, cubicle warfare. Office politics is generally practiced for the purpose of obtaining advantages beyond one’s legitimate official authority by the use of one’s officially vested power within an organization. Those advantages may include access to different kinds of official assets, or intangible benefits such as face value, an orthodox boss’s unflinching support to a high-flyer, self-status, or pseudo-authority that influences the behaviour of others.
 
Manipulation lies at the root of office politics where one or more of the parties involved use indirect means to achieve their goals. In the workplace, individuals are always in the run to grab official incentives. Sometimes it just happens that at the time of a company’s financial crunch or during recession, some impolite employees take it as an advantage and use others mistakes by showcasing it to their bosses. This way they try to subdue other competitor’s performance and in the event try to increase numbers.
 
Sometimes it also happens that some employees continuously feel insecure about their position by the presence of other competitors or teammates inside an organization and ultimately play foul games. They even do mind shouting at others even at a very small mistake or noncompliance. This negatively affects the quality mindset of employees. Some manipulators even try to make a scapegoat of others in very tactical ways and offend others in front of others. Here lies the true role of the higher management. The bosses should always remain neutral in all aspects and measure pros and cons of their decision regarding complaints against the less privileged. Sometimes innocent persons get harassed by the lack of communication between manager and employees and ultimately ditch the organization or are sacked. The after-effects of such attrition are manifold, and this effect gets reflected in the revenue figures of a company. Some old employees are also in the habit of complaining about the less salary they are drawing as against the newcomers. They forget the fact that they have confined themselves to a deep well for years and don’t possess relevant experience or expertise. These guys generally complain to their manager of choice regarding their salary issues and notify the unworthiness of others. These persons are highly dangerous and often backstab their colleagues or immediate boss at any time.
 
Workplace bullying includes tactics such as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation. Bullying in the workplace has generally been reported as having been committed by the senior guys or more experienced persons and takes the following forms: Unfair treatment to colleagues. Public humiliation. Regular threatening. Undermining others at work. Taking credit for others work. Quick to criticize and slow to praise. Assassinating characters of others. Spreading rumours. The following are some common tactics used by workplace bullies: Gossiping without in canteens, lounges, cafeteria to show off his or her leadership qualities or sab jaanta attitude. Falsely accuse someone of errors not actually made. Discount the person’s thoughts or feelings in meetings or discussions. Exhibit presumably uncontrollable mood swings in front of the group. Make up own rules without following them. Harshly and constantly criticize having a different standard for the target. Starts, or fails to stop, destructive rumors or gossip about different persons. Encourages people to turn against a particular person being tormented. Singles out and isolates one person from coworkers, either socially or physically. Steals credit for work done by others (plagiarism) by using any tool or format to increase his or her efficiency (stolen from any other company).Abuses his or her current company’s evaluation process. Assigns undesirable work to colleagues as punishment or retaliation and finds faults at the quality-control stage. Creates unrealistic demands (workload, deadlines, duties, work from home, laptop, cabs). Encourages different person to quit.
 
Nowadays organizations are beginning to take note of workplace bullying because of the costs the organization in terms of the health of their employees. Co-workers who witness workplace bullying can also have negative effects, such as emotional exhaustion, fear, and stress. Those who witness repetitive workplace abuse often choose to leave the place of employment where the abuse took place.

How to tackle the situation: Plan out such a strategy that both party’s interests are respected, no one feels insulted having lost). Don’t be straight forward always as it is likely to negatively affect your career. The other person in front of you is not going to take criticism. So, bear it in mind to give respect to all and march ahead simultaneously, but diplomatically, thus carving out your own niche. Office is a modern jungle. One needs to retaliate in the jungle’s way. Don’t participate: Try to keep yourself unattached from the whole mess. Just because people are badmouthing a person you are not supposed to do it. You can take a neutral stand and observe from a distance.

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