The Future of Office Politics in Australia
Gone are the dark days of cubicles and a menial existence among workplace employees. Yet, office politics thrive in the midst of constant changes and an ever-evolving work environment. Inevitable though they are, office politics strike at the core of productivity and morale for employees who struggle against them. Office politics do not discriminate. From remote employees to formal office settings and even the swanky, polished appeal of serviced offices popping up around the country thanks to ever-expanding companies like Regus, politics can eat away at a beautiful exterior and leave a company hollowed out and employees ineffective.
From those who deliberately work the system for their own personal gain to the innocent miscommunications so common in the daily grind of collaborative organisations, office politics cannot be trumped as long as an office is defined as a group of people working together for a common goal. Whether or not you learn to work around the foibles of an environment of human error and best intentions, you will be impacted. The good news is that you are not entirely at the mercy of the politics. After all, any system where politics exist do so because of the individuals present there.
The number one enemy to confusion is communication. Clear communication and deliberate focus on real-time, person-to-person conversation is one of the biggest busters of the hairy mess that can become office politics. Regardless of whether you are reading notes taken from a meeting, or hearing from someone what was said about you, the best source for information is where it began. Hearsay can become a dangerous misinformant. You can never be too clear on something. Double, triple and quadruple check that you understand what is expected of you, what is taking place in the work environment surrounding you and the nuances of the daily grind. This is your career, handle it with care.
From small upstarts in garages to corporate behemoths with glass walls and perfumed elevators, corporations are just groups of people. The inherent imperfection of humankind is enough to guarantee a set of office politics more convoluted than the plot of most Criminal Minds shows. Nevertheless, across the board, human nature is geared for collaboration. So, don’t be intimidated by co-workers or even people who are higher up the pecking order than yourself. You have time to get there and if you learn from those people rather than strive against them, you’ll propel yourself much further along.
A recent study indicates that it is our connections made during higher education rather than the actual school or accomplishments we make that garner us a degree of success later in life. The workplace can be an extension of connections made, or it can become a place of contention. The old adage that it’s not what you do, but who you are that matters may come closer to the truth of the business world than we realized. And it may not be what you know even as much as who you know that makes an impact. Social media expands horizons and helps us stay connected to our past in a way never before possible. Given the growing importance of networking, staying on good terms with co-workers and bosses is of utmost importance.
Idle gossip is just that, meant for those who aren’t going anywhere in a hurry; for people idling away their days behind a desk. View each person in your office as a connection with potential for the future. Treat them with sincere respect and dignity. Tomorrow is unknown, so make the most of today. Don’t let the politics of your office overwhelm you, sail through them with confidence and clear communication.