Office politics is part of managing. It will not go away. However, you do not want your team derailed by office politics. Here are some ways to minimize the negative impacts that office politics can have on your team.
- Observe and be aware of the interpersonal dynamics of your team. Watch for those who are playing politics.
- When you witness office politics, name it, both generally and specifically, by making it clear that office politics is not productive and is a distraction from your team’s mission.
- Watch any behaviors where you inadvertently may be promoting office politics such as, favoritism, overlooking divisive behaviors, talking unprofessionally about co-workers outside of your team or leading people to think that politics, not performance, will get them ahead. Be an example for your team.
- Cultivate emotional intelligence in your team, so that they can deal effectively with personality and other differences.
- Build relationships within and outside your team. These relationships will give you a foundation for when you have to deal with negative impacts of office politics.
- Be available and approachable to your team, so they are comfortable bringing problems to you.
- Create incentives for fostering teamwork.
- Be trustworthy. Gain the trust of your team and those around you.
- Keep it professional-do not take sides or take things personally.
- Seek influence in your organization, not power over others.