In weak companies, politics win. In strong companies, best ideas do. – Steve Jobs
Did you know that the underlying reason for office politics are psychological? It involves humans, emotional creatures, and we’re all biased by our unconscious needs.There is the need to get along with others, cooperating as a group. Some individuals might be more willing and able to be in charge of the group, but more often than not, this status will be challenged by other group members, resulting in inevitable friction.
Furthermore, tension may also be created by the desire of group members to be accepted by the group leader, and in turn the group members might fight to climb up the hierarchy.
Also, organisations provide individuals with a system to find meaning. Humans spend no less than a third of their adult life at work, and organisations are essential in fulfilling this need for meaning.
Hence, it’s vital to recognise that office politics are real, and they have a corrosive impact on any organisation. It’s also important for leaders to manage the tensions within the groups in their teams, and channel that energy into enhancing team performance and organisational effectiveness. Good leaders are able to identify the psychological underpinnings of office politics. They respond by managing the way they behave, and are attentive about how they motivate their team. They encourage their team to come across as competent, approachable and honest, instead of secretive and hierarchical.
However, this doesn’t mean that friendly competition among the team members should not be encouraged. Increased motivation and relationship-building are just two of the many benefits that competition with team mates can create. A shared sense of community and a safe place to fail and learn together also ensure that the team will work together to problem solve and find solutions to difficult situations. A little friendly competition that doesn’t create high-stress situations can go a long way to fuel productivity within a team, department or organisation.
Friendly competition goes a long way with ideation within a team. Team members aren’t afraid to build on or even debate or rebuke someone else’s idea because he knows that everyone is working towards the same goal. Wonderful and unique ideas can come to life when different strengths are pulled together and allowed to shine in the optimum environment.
Let’s be real here, ideation is fun and it’s a taste of freedom away from the constraints of the mundane work of a job, plus, it can be exhilarating. Given the right motivation from the leaders of the team, ideas will thrive, and this can lead to organisational effectiveness.
Communication is a big part of the ideation process. And to avoid misunderstandings, there are tools in the market to help bridge communication gaps like the Emergenetics psychometric profiling tool. The Emergenetics Profile is designed from this psychometric foundation to give team members an in-depth knowledge of their unique make-up, and provides an understanding of the person that each individual is.
In motivating team members to put their best foot forward, avoid pitting them against one another and instead focus on out-performing common adversaries like the company’s competitors. This can be done through articulating a meaningful mission — a vision that resonates and motivates people to achieve a collective goal. This keeps the team focused on beating competitors, rather than each other!
And thus, in a highly people-oriented fashion, unhealthy office politics can be kept to the absolute minimum and allow cognitive diversity to thrive at the workplace!