We all tend to disagree on various matters, have different priorities and may even want to change other’s opinions to achieve our vested interests – but what lengths should one go to achieve it?
A research team from at the University of Amsterdam found that 90 per cent of total office conversation qualifies as gossip. Are all kinds of office politics bad? And is it a reality that we just need to live with?
Whatever the moral grounds are on these subjects, it’s a fairly commonly accepted view that your office needs to extend a warm, non-discriminatory and inclusive environment to all employees. A work environment should be strictly professional.
But that is not always so.
‘I hear that Mr. So-and-so actually wants to steal Ms. X’s client away, and he plans to do so by dating the CEO’s daughter!’
Vicious rumours, such as these, can spread like wildfire and not only adversely affect individuals but also poison the office culture.
This sort of an environment breeds disrespect, jealousy and a destructiveness. And we most definitely don’t want that.
‘Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy’ – Keep Office Politics at Bay
Step 1. Keep it transparent
If the company ensures that there is free flow of authentic information, there will be no room for confusion and horrid gossip-fuelled by negative elements. For this you need the following crucial elements:
- Open lines of communication – There should be a bilateral free-flow of information, in a transparent manner. This will ensure that gossip without any basis is squashed in the very beginning.
- Strong company culture: The very culture of the company should lean towards a peaceful coexistence within the organisation. This message should be sufficiently seeped into your employee’s conscience.
Step 2. Have a buddy-system for new employees
When you appoint a new employee into your office, ensure that there is someone in-tune with the office culture, who is assigned to him as a ‘buddy’.
For the first few weeks, the ’buddy’ will help your new recruit learn the ropes and also help him stay out of the murky waters of office politics. This will also help the new recruits understand how important it is to stay genial at the workplace, but not allow for their personal and professional life to collide.
Step 3. Do not allow negative power plays and gossip to go unpunished
Your company needs to incorporate policies that discourage gossip and safeguard the interests of those who are targets of malicious office politics. The gossip mongers who waste time in idle water-cooler conversations should also be reprimanded, and advised on course correction.
Step 4. Don’t Gossip.
Every individual counts in the struggle to create a conducive and stress-free office environment. The effort must start from the senior management level and permeate to the lowest rungs of organisational hierarchy.