“I don’t do politics”
In my previous careers, I genuinely believed that I wasn’t a political animal, just a straight talking chap, making his way in the world. However, in retrospect, I now realise that I was highly political, even Machiavellian.
It could be said that working in contrasting but highly structured environments (commercial banking and public sector education), office politics were essential skills, if you wanted to advance your career. Accordingly, armed with an insatiable desire to progress, I could schmooze, intimidate or manoeuvre around any barrier I perceived was blocking my path.
But is this a problem? Aren’t these the essential tools that knit together the organisational fabric?
With the luxury of now viewing organisations from the outside, it becomes crystal clear just how much time is wasted through office politics. In a world where we all have too little time, too much information, too little energy – this component can often be the straw that breaks the camels back, causing good people to leave and creating a culture where trust and collaboration are left outside the front door.
Are you an Office Politics Black Belt?
So mark yourself from 0 (I never do this) to 10 (I excel at this) on the following indicators, and be truthful, after all, nobody’s watching:
In the old days, I would have hit the high 80s…
The truth is, if we are honest, we all engage in some degree of office politics and, if we think we don’t, we probably aren’t that self aware. Most of these traits and behaviours are hard wired into us as we grow up, helping us gain attention from our parents, our siblings, our school mates.
But wouldn’t it be great to move an organisational culture from one where the political big beasts dominated to another place which listened and valued the opinions of even the quietest of voices?
A Politics Free Nirvana
If we want to create a work environment that is more productive, collaborative and open - what do we need to do?
There is no immediate cure but below are 10 tips to help you cleanse even the most toxic of workplaces:
Chris Lorimer is an organisational consultant and coach. He lives in Devon with his family. For more information on this and other articles contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Lorimer is an
experienced consultant who has helped many organisations to grow through his unique 4 Ps approach.