How to avoid the perils of office politics

I am really excited about being promoted to management, but I am worried about office politics. How do I manage these situations, without alienating myself?

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Jul 28, 2017
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This is a great move for my career but I am worried about how I will manage situations where people are undermining each other or talking about other team members behind their back. 

Can I control work place politics through managing situations or are they simply a fact of life? 

Firstly, congratulations on your promotion! This is an exciting time but it’s also natural to feel some trepidation. Yes, you have worked there already, but nothing really prepares you for the moment that you are thrown into a manager’s role.

How do you a deal with a member of staff who has the boss’ ear and can get away with anything or the group of employees that are excluding others from social occasions?

These are examples of office politics and whether you love or loathe it, you’d be hard-pressed to escape it completely. Generally speaking office politics can be harmless enough and there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition between colleagues. But, as a good manager you need to be able to identify when good-natured banter has gone too far and how to address this. It is important to deal with issues confidently and head on rather than letting them develop into something more serious.

You are responsible for getting everyone to pull in the same direction. Any manager worth their salt will want to make sure that the whole team succeeds, rather than just select individuals within it. If cracks do start to appear, and people become stressed or unhappy, you should be the one to resolve the dispute in a supportive and non-partisan way. This is not the time for favouritism.  

Remain approachable, so that your staff can talk to you if they think that they are being treated unfairly. Misunderstandings happen from time to time, so don’t be afraid to speak to your team if you are starting to sense that there may be something wrong. It’s amazing how far a cup of tea and a chat can go in clearing the air!

As you embark on your new adventure, remember that you are not alone in navigating office politics, speak to your line manager or your HR department if you are not sure what action to take, but remember, confidence is key. 

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Go to the profile of Nickie Elenor

Nickie Elenor

I have been an employment law solicitor for 15 years.

I set up Your HR Lawyer as I was fed up with the call centre models and poor service provided by the big HR support providers. So my mission is to provide the creditable alternative. I am passionate about helping employers navigate through the sometimes complex world of Employment law in a commercially savvy and straight talking way.

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