How does one handle office politics in companies?

Friday May 15 2020

Moses Ssesanga

Moses Ssesanga  

By Moses Ssesanga

When you get a job, you never expect to find “politics”, but the reality is different. Some workplaces have too much office “politics”. What do you do when you encounter office politics? Paul

Dear Paul
When you have people from different socio-economic backgrounds and generations, different educational qualifications with varied interests, all congregating into one workplace, with some wielding differing levels of power and authority over others, you are bound to find interesting group dynamics, and this includes office politics. Wikipedia defines office politics as the process and behaviour in human interactions involving power and authority. The underlying words here are power and authority.
Employees usually indulge in office politics with the intention of tarnishing their colleague’s reputations and hope to obtain unfair advantage to come into the good books of their superiors. The best remedy for office politics and its negative connotations for an employee, is to keep your interactions professional at all times, don’t make enemies or burn bridges and refrain from making others look bad.
The challenge for HR and the responsible managers is to cobble up a culture that will align individuals to work as a single unit to deliver defined organisation goals, while avoiding unnecessary conflicts and politics. Office politics, which is simply abuse of privilege and authority, if not checked by HR, can lead to a toxic work environment. The danger to the organisation is that key talent gets fed up with the workplace toxicity and may decide to leave. Worst case is when those who feel they have been unreasonably treated resort to court for redress, depending on the gravity of the situation.