How to Manage Office Politics as a Manager: Turning Chaos into Order
Updated: Apr 2
When you hear about office politics, what comes to mind? Malicious rumours, sucking up to influential people, and backstabbing? As a manager, it's crucial to ensure that your organisation maintains a positive environment and prevents chaos.
When good and healthy politics are practised in an organisation, employees can advance their interests fairly. As a manager, your role is to ensure that your company maintains a positive environment and prevents chaos from taking hold.
Let's talk about the dynamics of bad politics for a bit. Depending on the company, 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 mediator, ensuring 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.
Striving for success is a common goal. What's different, however, are 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
Accept office politics as a reality. It might 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.
Study and analyse the organisation chart. Office politics is usually determined by the prevalent structures of the organisation. Find out which employees are interested in which positions, who their main competitors are, and if anyone in a managerial position is against such an employee. This will ensure that you know where to focus your attention.
Understand informal communication channels. When it comes to office politics, it would be a waste of time to rely on formally recognised communication channels within the organisation. Monitor informal channels to see if a vicious employee is spreading harmful rumours.
Develop 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. Intervene when you notice that employees are involving dirty and compromising tactics to further their interests. Talk to all parties involved, try to calm them, and make them see reason.
Following these steps and strategies, you can effectively manage office politics in your organisation and maintain a harmonious and productive work environment.