Recognizing an Office Politician

Shawnee Love   •  
October 26, 2012

The last couple of blogs we have been discussing office politics in its many forms which nicely lead into how to recognize an office politician.

If you believe it is what you do that counts, then check out the many forms of office politics and see who around you is acting out the behaviours because that is a sure fire way to sniff them out.  Those gossipy, backstabbing, limelight stealing, information hoarding types of individuals are likely candidates.

However, as a manager of a team, it isn’t always easy to recognize office politicians because they can be very good at hiding their politicking from you.  While ignorance may be blissful for you, it is torture for those who are affected and causes your good people to leave, become unmotivated or join the political game themselves.

Companies that ignore, don’t recognize or put up with their in-house politicians will eventually discover they have:

  • high turnover
  • high absenteeism and
  • low productivity.

Those symptoms have big dollars associated with them which is why you will want to figure out who your office politicians are.

One of the best ways to recognize an office politician (if the behaviours aren’t obvious) is to ask.

Ask your team members if they have experienced these types of behaviours. No one wants to rat out a colleague, so you have to handle the questioning carefully and promise people they are safe from retribution, but who better to tell you what is going on than the people experiencing it?

If you don’t want to ask directly, do a survey of employees which they can respond to confidentially or allow people to anonymously make comments or suggestions.

Additionally, build strong relationships with your people and ensure they know your door is open to questions or concerns.

Three simple actions:

  • Asking
  • Building relationships
  • Having an open door policy

can make all the difference when it comes to office politics, one of the biggest organizational culture problems for many companies.

Come back next week and we will chat about how to cut this malignant tumour out of your company’s culture.