Kurt Motamedi Proposes Four Ways Senior Leaders Can Curb Office Politics in Chief Executive
Creating hierarchies is human, but when office politics aren’t addressed, it fosters an environment where adverse behaviors thrive and operations suffer.
Pepperdine Graziadio Business School recently set out to learn how managers and workers view office politics, which include toxic behaviors, discriminatory practices, and interpersonal difficulties.
In a survey of 800 professionals, 68 percent say office politics is very or somewhat prevalent in their office, and half of the workers surveyed say they feel pressured to engage in office politics.
“As the survey results show, office politics can be a challenge for businesses,” said Kurt Motamedi, Professor of Strategy and Leadership at Pepperdine Graziadio. “When office politics aren’t addressed, it fosters an environment where adverse behaviors thrive and operations suffer. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.”
According to the survey, management has the most influence over the level of office politics in an organization. With that in mind, here are four ways leaders can foster a healthy work environment:
- Maintain an open dialogue in planning and set realistic goals and expectations for team members.
There is a famous saying in business: “Bad communication ends a lot of good things. Good communication ends a lot of bad things.” When asked about the top challenges for getting ahead in today’s workplace, communication problems (35 percent) were the only response that finished ahead of office politics (29 percent). As clear expectations and goals can keep employees on track, unclear expectations make employees ask questions.
When there is a defined path to success, team members can better keep their heads in the game and their eyes on the ball. Managers should sit down with employees and produce a realistic and clear action plan on how to achieve upward mobility in the company.
Ditching the annual review in favor of weekly catch-ups, explaining the reasons behind decisions for clarity and learning, and letting each person in the meeting speak for two minutes to start the meeting can also foster trust and forge positive relationships (over skepticism and isolation).
Read the full story in Chief Executive.