A workplace where employees are happy and safe is a successful workplace. Workplace politics can be a roadblock to creating a safe and happy workforce. Workplace politics are behaviors and systems that encourage employees putting themselves before the company or their co-workers. One example of this is when an individual (or group) puts a co-worker down in order to get ahead. Having politics present in your workplace can cause unhealthy competition, a lack of psychological safety, distrust in company leaders, backstabbing, blackmailing, gossip, and many other problems. Here are some ways to prevent workplace politics from becoming a problem in your company:
Keeping things hidden from any part of your workforce will make it easy for gossip to take hold. Make sure that big decisions and changes are communicated through your entire company. Also, setting clear processes for how decisions, promotions, and raises are made is a great way to be more transparent and keep decisions from becoming political.
If you see any sign of these types of negative behaviors starting to creep into your workplace, take measures to remove it immediately. Not addressing the problem will only allow it to perpetuate. Set up uniform consequences company-wide for participating in political behavior. If your employees feel that everyone is punished equally for poor behavior, they are less likely to feel singled out or participate in workplace politics.
Another negative side effect of workplace politics is a lack of accountability. To keep these negative feelings from festering, make sure to enforce accountability in your company. This can apply to consequences for bad behavior as well as recognition for success. Employees will be less likely to participate in workplace politics if they feel that everyone is accountable for their actions.
Workplace politics can make your company a toxic place to work. Follow this advice to prevent politics from becoming a negative part of your workplace.