If you have read any of my blogs on political intelligence, you will know that ‘Office Politics’ is unavoidable, as Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a political animal”. Essentially politics is all about understanding the unwritten rules that exist in an organisation which affect how decisions are made – from which projects get allocated which budgets to who gets the next Finance Director role.
However, organisations do vary in quite how political they are. In those with the highest level of politics there is more stress, people are demotivated, less engaged and career progression stalled for many. It may even lead to organisations losing talent and certainly not getting the most out of those who stay, as they prefer to ‘opt out’ of the politics and just ‘do the day job’. One of the aspects that I often cover with clients in 1-2-1 sessions on political intelligence sessions and workshops, before we look at their own diagnostic results about their on interaction and behaviour at work, is a look at how political they believe their organisation to be.
It may surprise you to know that public sector and not-for-profit organisations are amongst the most political, this has come from the extensive research the Academy for Political Intelligence (http://tafpi.com) has done over the last 20 years or so.
So I’m sure you’re wondering what some indicators are that there is a lot of politics is going on, well here are just 3:
- Reorganisations of departments and responsibilities always favour some people more than others.
- People are often critical of others when they are not present but are never or rarely critical when they are present.
- The organisation’s ‘informal’ communication channels i.e. the ‘grapevine’ is often better informed about what is going on than the ‘formal’ communication channels.
These are just some of the indicators, as a licensed practitioner with the Academy of Political Intelligence, when I work with individuals and groups we work through the entire list to assess just how political your organisation is on the scale and together with the results about how the individual(s) are currently operating in the environment from the diagnostic they have done, we can come up with an action plan of the specific behaviours that need to be worked on.
If you or your team would like to understand more about the context of the environment you work in, how political behaviour can be positive and what specific actions you/your team can take to activate better decision making and greater career progression, contact me.
To read my comprehensive guide to ‘Office Politics’ click here.