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Freeing your workplace of office politics

March 10, 2017

By Mary Corrado, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Every office has politics – it’s unavoidable.  But if leadership creates an engaging culture that encourages collaboration, those politics can be kept at bay.  I recently read an article where the author stated that she is “allergic to silos.”  I feel the same way.

Employees across teams should be allies.  Everyone should be working together towards a greater purpose.  This is where a company’s mission and core values come in to play.  And they are more than a few written statements.  They must be engrained in the culture so that employees feel a united sense of purpose.

In many cases the HR department is responsible for carrying out the company’s mission and vision and for creating a united, engaged culture.  In some larger companies they actually employ a “culture specialist.”  Either way, it is important to create a culture that creates allies among employees and makes them feel engaged and connected to the organization and its mission.  Below are a few examples:

Encourage Ideas from Every One
To remain innovative you must encourage employees to bring up new ideas.  Here at ASE we hold an annual “Next Big Idea” meeting.  In this meeting every employee attends and is encouraged to speak up about any new ideas they might have for the company.  This is considered a brainstorming meeting so that everyone feels comfortable presenting unique ideas.  It’s important to listen to your employees. They are in the daily trenches.  In addition, in a smaller organization like ASE, we are able to let that employee take their idea and have the autonomy to act on it and own it.  I feel it’s important to let employees do that whenever you can.

Have Fun Together
By supporting employee social events a sense of camaraderie can be achieved in the office.  ASE has several social events that we support throughout the year including an annual Tigers game outing, annual bowling tournament, office Olympics, etc.  Doing so creates positive work relationships, makes employees feel appreciated, and gets everyone away from the everyday stresses of work that we all share.

Beware of Egos
Hire people that don’t think they already know everything.  We should always be learning from others.  One of my favorite quotes is, “If I’m the smartest person in the room then I need to go to another room.” Hire people that feel the same way and want to learn from their co-workers.  Create a learning environment in the workplace so employees can learn and grow with each other.  Employees should never feel belittled by others.

Tackle Negativity
I recently attended a conference where one of the presenters talked about “drainoids” and “self-indulgers” in the workplace.  He described drainoids as those employees that walk around in constant self-pity and drag their co-workers down.  Self-indulgers were described as those that justify their negative behavior because they feel they have been “dumped on” and so their poor attitude and negative behavior is OK.  These types of people tend to gather and complain and often drag other employees down with them.  They can take a new employee from excited to “what have I gotten myself into” within weeks.  As leaders and managers we must tackle this and not allow it to create negativity in the office.

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