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The Art of Navigating Workplace Politics

10 Mar

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Let’s face the fact: workplace politics can be a headache. Navigating workplace politics is often a daunting and stressful task for employees at all levels. However, understanding and mastering methods of keeping workplace politics in check are necessary and crucial to the success of your business.

Without a game plan for this  taboo topic, you may see your productivity slow down and your workplace culture tarnish. It starts by staying neutral. As the leader of your organization, it is imperative that you do not exercise bias toward any political stance within your workplace. To further that point, you need to understand the different types of politics that may be discussed. This includes social issues, workplace culture, and political discussions.

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Social issues and workplace culture are the most prominent while political discussions jump significantly during election season.

Needless to say, each deserves a thoughtful approach…their scope extends further than your current employee base. During the recruiting process, 47% of applicants list company culture as a top employment decision factor. If you navigate workplace politics properly, you can maintain your company culture and shine a positive light on your organization.

Here are our tips on how to approach and conquer workplace politics.

Listen to your employees

If you want to know what’s working, or what isn’t for that matter, your employees will become your greatest resource. Take the time to listen to your employees and truly understand what they’re saying. Some employees may want stronger diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Some may want better harassment and discrimination training.

It’s also important to take note of how your employees act. If you believe productivity isn’t as robust as it should be, there’s a chance you have burnt out employees…another vertical you’ll need to understand in an effort to navigate workplace politics.

Create a culture of open communication

Clear communication is essential for navigating workplace politics. Make sure you are clear and concise in your communication, and avoid misunderstandings by asking clarifying questions. Use active listening skills to make sure you understand what others are saying, and be open to feedback.

Understand what setting suits your employees best

Everyone is different. It is inevitable to have employees who prefer to work alone or in group settings. If you take the time to get an idea of what works best for your employees as individuals, you can avoid many problems down the road. In fact, 38% of employees cite in-group/out-group dynamics as the greatest source of conflict in their organization.

This isn’t to say you should never have meetings or never have employees collaborate, but it does help to mitigate uncomfortable situations.

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Stay informed and be proactive

Business owners and organizational leaders have a never-ending to-do list. Navigating workplace politics is just another item to stack on top of a full plate. What helps to lighten the load is staying informed on what’s going on in the world around you and preparing for what that may mean for your workforce. Once you have a clear image of what’s happening with important topics, use your senses to observe your employees and pivot your strategy to align with the intensities of your workplace politics.

Keep in mind that while you do not want to escalate any situations, don’t be intimidated to get your employees back on track. Whether it be holding an open forum to discuss or deflecting their focus elsewhere, it’s okay to be the voice of reason.

If you’re still having difficulties, working with a professional employer organization (PEO) like VensureHR can be hugely impactful to help mitigate the struggles of navigating workplace politics.

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