How Office Politics Can Ruin Your Productivity

When you have worked for a large, bureaucratic organization you know how damaging office politics can be. Not only are they nasty and utterly unnecessary, then can also ruin your productivity. In this article we will take a closer look at office politics and how to make sure they don’t ruin your productivity.

Office politics, also known as workplace politics, is the use of power and social networking within an organization with the aim of changing the organization or individuals within the organization. In its worst form office politics are destructive and can focus on personal gains at the expense of the organization and it’s individuals.  Self-serving office politics can influence cooperation, information sharing and other organizational functions in a bad way. And office politics can be totally devastating for your productivity.

So, how to deal with office politics and still get things done?

Start, they can’t stop you

Asking permission before you start something is not smart. It is easier for your boss or a co-worker to stop you before your start. There are always many worst case scenario’s that could possibly happen if you do X or Y. If the damage, that might occur, is moderate or in any way reversible, don’t give people the chance to say “no” or otherwise stop you. Most people, if given the chance, are fast to stop you before you get started, but this changes once you are moving. Then it becomes a lot harder for others to say “no” to you.

As such, it is better to beg for forgiveness afterwards (if things turn don’t work out as planned), then to ask for permission in advance. What would you rather have; asking permission one hundred times upfront, or saying sorry once or twice? Getting permission can take too long, so get good at saying sorry.

Keeping the right people in the loop

This is more of a last resort kind of solution, if the above mentioned approach does not work for you, you might want to switch tactics. As mentioned before, most people are fast to stop you before you get started. So keeping them out of the information loop, and not letting them know what you are up to, is a proven approach to make sure you get things done. Is it ethical and fair to other colleagues? That is up to you. Personally, I don’t like this approach that much, but it does help get things done. And, after all, that is what running a business is about. It’s not about some personal power struggle within the organization, it’s about earning money so all can thrive. If the business doesn’t earn money, it’s a lose-lose for everybody.

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