While office politics are seemingly unavoidable, it’s really just a matter of turning negatives into positives and spreading the good vibes and do-good attitudes to boost employee morale. Is this easier said than done?
Office politics have the power to potentially put a damper on employee morale and company culture. Correcting them can be challenging, especially if your workplace is highly competitive. If you don’t have your head in the game, you may find that you are being outwitted and possibly out promoted by your colleagues. This can quickly lead to harboring jealous or bad feelings, which you can nip in the bud by changing a few things about your own behavior.
Unfortunately, you can’t change the attitudes and actions of others, but you can adapt to more difficult situations to make them more favorable. If you’re wondering how to boost employee morale and better manage office politics, here are a few tips.
Get a Pulse of the Company Culture: It’s a good idea to have a solid grasp of the different personalities you’re working with. Who makes the decisions? What is valued most at your company? Is there an open-door policy? What is the preferred communication style among execs? By taking time to get a feeling for how the office operates, you’ll know how to better approach situations.
Let Your Achievements Shine: Make sure you have information to back up your claims and avoid coming off boastful. Also, if you’ve worked with other team members to achieve a shared goal, make sure to give credit where credit’s due. If you show support for your coworkers, there’s a better chance they favor will be returned down the road.Employees may think their supervisors will automatically notice good work, which isn’t always the case. One-on-one check-ins and internal reviews are an appropriate time to highlight what you’ve achieved and illustrate your value as an employee. If you constantly go above and beyond your job description, make sure you let that be known. Where to start?
Ask for Constructive Feedback: If you aren’t moving up as quickly as you’d like or if you feel like you’re not given opportunities to advance in your career, ask your supervisor what you can do to reach the next step. Try to set a goal date to have the next step completed, as setting deadlines holds you more personally Before requesting a meeting with your boss, speak to a trusted colleague to give you honest feedback about your concerns and the way you’re communicating them. It’s important to bring up problems or concerns, but it’s equally important to be part of the solution as well.
Have Thoughtful Reactions: It’s normal to have emotional reactions in the workplace from time to time. After all, you spend the majority of weekdays with your coworkers. Despite any personal conflicts, you must always remember to remain professional. Even if you feel warranted for flying off the handle, the proper steps are to address the problem privately with the person involved, and if a resolution can’t be found, bring in a neutral third party.Also, consider if your reaction is directly related to the matter at hand. Sometimes we allow frustrations to build up over time and explode without notice, whether the situation calls for it or not. Don’t invalidate your feelings, but also don’t direct your anger or frustration at a person not responsible for causing it.
Try to Avoid Office Gossip: Office gossip is inevitable when it comes to office politics, but it can be a slippery slope. Once you’re involved in it, it’s harder to remove yourself from the situation. Ever heard of the phrase “misery loves company”? That applies to office gossip. If one person is lamenting about a less than ideal situation, it can be all too easy to jump in and share your own personal views. However, words can come back to haunt you, so before taking sides, it might be better to listen and limit your involvement.
Build Good Work Relationships: When you open the door for good communication among your coworkers, it makes it easier to address problems when they arise. Employee morale can quickly tank due to one person’s negative behavior; it can be contagious. But the same can be said of someone’s positivity. Rather than jump on the bandwagon of complaining or be affected by the person bringing down the group, strive to be the one to bring everyone up. It’ll help boost employee morale, but will make you feel better about coming to work as well. When people look forward to coming in to the office and spending time with work friends, company culture starts to thrive. Build up your in-office rapport by:
Understand Expectations: In work situations, it’s important that you’re on the same page as other team members, as well as your boss. If you are working under unclear or opposing expectations, this can cause frustrating situations all around. It never hurts to ask for clarification on a project, goals, or other parts of your job. When working collaboratively, make sure the goal is clear and you know your part of what it will take to get there. Establishing timelines and requested deliverables is helpful to identify at the beginning.
Keep Records: Unfortunately, you may work with conniving or manipulative people. They may try to take credit for your work or throw you under the bus when a project doesn’t go as planned. The first thing is to feel confident in the value in your work, and the second is to keep digital or physical records of communication with this person and save it to a specific document folder. If they try to place blame, you’ll have written, factual correspondence. While your first reaction may be to go into defense mode, this likely will only cause an argument. Cite specific emails or meetings where other people were present to set the record straight.
Assess Your Role in Office Politics: Office politics vary from place to place. If you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t fit your professional or moral requirements anymore, it could be time to assess your employment. Carefully consider all aspects of the situation, and work toward changing the landscape as much as you can for the position you’re in. Don’t let one situation or person ruin work for you. But if it’s a political climate or company culture you’d rather not be in, it might be time to seek opportunities elsewhere.
Make it Work for You: When you put several, different personalities all in one place, there is going to be disagreements and differences in opinions. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you find your happy medium to make your way through office politics without compromising your work ethic or personal values in the meantime, stick to what works. You can set the tone for your work days.
There will always be an ebb and flow to any work situation. By understanding how to boost employee morale and manage office politics, you can ride the highs and get through the lows unscathed.
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