Managing internal politics ...
When you hear about office politics, in what direction does your mind dart towards? Is all you can think of spreading malicious rumours, sucking up to the right people and backstabbing? If this is the case, you have a lot of work to do as a manager to ensure that the organisation doesn't become chaotic.
When "good and safe" politics is practised in the organisation, employees can advance their interests in a fair and healthy manner. When the organisation's atmosphere is devoid of negativity, free, fair and peaceful politics will be the order of the day.
Let's talk about the dynamics of "bad politics" for a bit. Depending on the organisation, such politics might involve employees and management across different levels, leading to the organisation's breakdown of law and order. This is why it is vital for you as a manager to act as a middleman and ensure that different groups in the organisation can have a go in a fair and acceptable manner.
The first step you want to take is to find out just how political the organisation is. It must be said that every organisation experiences politics to an extent, especially when there is an influx of personal needs, emotions, ambitions, and insecurities.
Everyone is striving for success. What's different, however, is the individual means employed to achieve it. Workplace politics usually arise when opinions and personalities clash, and there is a lack of consensus on the best way to play politics. This is where the situation becomes increasingly difficult to manage.
Employees and other organisational members care about the decisions taken by others, which directly affect them, and this is why they make an effort to influence such decisions. They can choose to be shady or straightforward about their approach to achieving this.
Ways To Manage Office Politics As a Manager
The first step to effectively managing office politics is accepting it as a reality. Sure, it might slightly evolve and see some players come and go, but it won't disappear completely.
Since this is the case, it then falls on you as the manager to come up with strategies and means for the organisation's political structure and how it is affected by various networking levels.
You can manage politics in the organisation by:
Studying and analysing the organisation chart - Office politics is usually determined by the prevalent structures of the organisation. So, it is imperative that you sit back and maintain a keen eye.
Find out which employees are interested in which positions. Who their main competitors are, and is anyone in a managerial position against such an employee?
Doing this will ensure that you know where to keep your focus in case you need to swoop in like Clark Kent to save the day.
Make an effort to understand informal communication channels - When it comes to office politics, it would be a complete waste of time on your part to try to source
information from formally recognised communication channels within the organisation.
It is very certain that the information you seek is being transmitted through the grapevine. This isn't to say in any way that you should avoid formal communication channels and monitor informal channels to see if a vicious employee is spreading harmful rumours.
Communication and conflict-resolving skills - As a manager, your ability to resolve issues might just be what will prevent a major crisis in the organisation. You should intervene when you notice that employees are involving dirty and comprising tactics to further their interests.
Talk to all parties involved. Try to calm them and make them see reason.
Remember, there are always better ways of taking action...