Why Office Politics is a Roadblock to Growth
Office politics is considered one of the major roadblocks to business growth. When not addressed, it will create a drag on your organisational effectiveness. Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between politics and work performance. However, how many companies have acknowledged that politics is an inhibiting factor in their growth?
Management should be alarmed when a promotion is regarded as more important than accomplishments. Or, when vibrant personality is viewed as more favourable than excellent performance. There is something wrong when impressive talks are given emphasis over quality results. Yes, politicking can harm your business and you need to understand why.
Politics is a productivity killer
In a politically-driven workplace, you will observe that less time is spent for work. Employees who play politics have less concentration. They are more interested in gossiping, backbiting, and credit grabbing. Lack of focus results in low-quality output and late delivery. Productivity slows down and the business is affected.
With politics, performance is not a priority. Nobody is thinking about what is best for the organisation. There is an unhealthy competition among employees. For example, useless arguments and debates are prevalent in non-productive meetings. There is a scarcity of good ideas because no one is willing to admit there is one. Brilliant ideas are left unsaid for fear of contradictions. They become critical instead of analytical. Creative thinking is inhibited and problem-solving is hindered.
Politics increases turnover
Politics usually has a toll on high performing employees. These employees are noted for their focus at work. They are not into politics, but most of the time they cannot evade it.
Why? Because their efficiency exposes the lapses of those who are into politics. They are hated for their diligence and excellent work. Their people skills are questioned because they have no time to exchange pleasantries with others. They are too busy to realise that they are already part of a war that they're not aware of. When this happens, high performers get stressed out. In the long run, they get burned out and decide to leave the company.
When top management is not observant enough, they often give credits to the popular politically-driven people. High performers feel unfairness and become demotivated. They start to lose passion for their work, then eventually decide to resign. New people come in and are immersed in the same environment. The political cycle continues and the business cannot move forward. Politics has become the norm and survival means swimming along.
Politics is a poison to company culture
Politics is a poison slowly killing your company. It spoils the relationships among employees and the workplace becomes negative. Cynicism and distrust are common. Most people become disengaged and less responsible with their work. Work is just another day in the office. They work from pay cheque to pay cheque worrying about their jobs and not the business.
Politics is also a major impediment to learning. Employees play politics to gain undue recognition. When a promotion is given without merit, growth does not matter anymore. As a result, growth-mindset individuals leave. Your company becomes a haven of mediocrity. People stop striving for excellence and just play along with politics. Paranoia corrodes their creativity and potential.
Politics is a risk to your business
There is no doubt that office politics decreases productivity and increases turnover. When not controlled, your business becomes vulnerable to other serious risks. Politics could lead to corruption and the reputation of your company is at stake.
Politicking employees tend to connive with each other. When they dominate the workplace, no one is willing to contradict their ideas and decisions. Their presence is strong, which can lead management into thinking their ideas form the majority. A powerplay may be as simple as giving importance to their own personal preferences. However, in worse scenarios connivance results in corruption. When their network becomes well established, their fraudulent activities are difficult to detect.
The decision-making process is also affected by politicking. There is a possibility of manipulating information. Top management receives inaccurate reports and they become blind to the real status of the company.
When risks are not discovered early, solutions are more reactive rather than proactive. Solutions are fast but haphazard. Unfortunately, some of these solutions can lead to budget overrun and client dissatisfaction.
Overall, politics can destroy your reputation as a company. Words usually spread outside the organisation. Nobody wants to work in a politically-motivated environment.
Recruitment becomes challenging until you just settle to hire more mediocre and politically-inclined applicants. Your culture becomes more political, and you only realise its adverse effect when your client satisfaction continues to decline.
Politics, no matter how subtle, has an impact on the business. Do not underestimate the risks behind it. Act early and act now. If you are a startup company, take advantage of the opportunity to establish core values early. Develop your team around these values as your company grows. If your company has an established culture, then expect that the transformation takes time and effort.
Believe that it is not yet too late. Your culture is sick, and it is about time you acknowledge that you need a cure.