If you’re part of any organisation, well, any organization that I know, then politics is, you know what?
It’s kind of part of the game and the larger the organisation, the more politics that can occur. But even in small teams, it can be a little nitpicking, politics, little things going on all the time that can be really disruptive to having a great culture and people being open and transparent and politics can really cut across what it is that you’re trying to achieve as a leader, as you build a great team.
There’s a number of ways you can deal with it and, for me, the first thing is don’t engage in it yourself.
Demonstrate a way of doing things that’s not aligned with a political mindset.
If people see you stabbing them in the back or stabbing other people in the back or gossiping or running down the company or talking about your superiors in a way that’s undermining them, then they’re gonna take that as acceptable behaviour.
They won’t trust you and, as we know, transparency builds trust, and if they don’t trust you, there’s issues that come out of that.
So, don’t get involved in politics yourself. Demonstrate the culture and the values that you want in the team that you have which is critical.
Culture comes from the top. People will look at you, they’ll look at the way that you behave, and they will endeavor to align themselves with the way that you operate in.
So, when you see politics in your team, if you see people being political, trying to maneuver things around, then call it early.
Sometimes, as managers, we don’t want to have the confrontation or we just kind of want to be nice and it just delays the inevitable. The earlier that you can nip these things in the bud, the better.
If there’s politics going on, people are being unreasonable. There’s gossip happening. You put people in a room, have an open discussion.
If it’s individual, take them aside, have a conversation, don’t be overly concerned about how they’re going to react or what will they think of you.
Ultimately, you get respect when you deal with issues early. Fairly, openly, transparently, but early. Early is good.
Intervention is much better than cure.
So, take the time to build relationships with those around you and your team. When you see things happening that are just not right, you’ve got a couple of warring factions, put them in a room, ask them to sort it out. Put them in a room. You can adjudicate.
There’s a number of ways that you can do that, but get onto it early. Stop the politics and demonstrate a right way of doing things by not engaging in politics yourself.