Minimizing politics can be one of the most difficult tasks you would perform in your life. It feels unnatural. Sometimes it is counter-intuitive and against the best practices as you discourage open-mindedness and employee development. We will explain this later in our blog.
There is a huge difference between an executive-level employee and a junior employee. Similarly, managing both is different too. It is like you are in a boxing ring with a professional boxer and an untrained rookie. When you are managing junior-level employees, you can do thing naturally without being protective or careful and they won’t get you in any trouble.
We will share a few techniques with you so you can keep away from being knocked out in corporate politics:
Hire people with the right ambition
The best way to transform your company into a political organization is by hiring people who have wrong ambitions. Aim to get people on-board who want to make your company successful. People who don’t have a problem if their success is overshadowed by the organization’s success.
The success of your employee will come as a by-product of your company’s success. The wrong type of ambition can be defined as someone who values his own success even if the company is going at loss.
Set strict policies and rules
Build strict policies and standard for political issues and never compromise on those no matter what.
● Performance evaluation and compensation
● Organizational design and territory
Performance evaluation and compensation
Many organization are lazy in setting performance, evaluation and compensation policies. Some do it in such an unorganized way that is prone to political debates and arguments. As a leader, you have to keep the pay increases real and fair. And, you can do it by doing well-structured, regular performance and compensation reviews. These are even more effective for executive level employees. Involving board of directors in the executive level compensation can ensure better governance.
Organizational design and territory
When you have hired ambitious people, they will want to expand their responsibility by taking on more jobs. CFO would want to become COO, while other executives will look forward to higher positions. So, if an executive comes to you to discuss any promotion or similar thing, be extra careful with what you say. Because what you say could be turned into a political statement.
The best answer to this type of question is no answer. Don’t respond at all. Anything you say will seed unproductive discussions and debates. So, assess your organizational design regularly and collect information which is required to make these types of decision. Once you decide, don’t leak the information. Don’t leave any room for lobbying. Do it immediately.
Every time you promote an employee the company judges whether it was fair or political. It there is any political involvement, then employees will:
● Feel undervalued
● Lobby against the person who is promoted and undermine them in the position
● They will try to emulate the behaviour and style of the employee who was promoted
As a leader, you don’t want any of these to happen at your workplace. So, you have to maintain formal, transparent and defensible promotions which don’t yield any collateral political damage. Include any manager who is familiar with an employee’s work in the promotion process. For executives, including the board of directors as well. Your employees will get the impression that company based promotions on merit not on politics. And, you will get a lot of useful information which is necessary to make the decisions.
Complaining never stops
Once your company reaches a significant size, the employees will keep on complaining about each other. Sometimes people come with minor issues, while sometimes the criticism is heavy. Be careful who you listen to. This can send messages to other employees in the organization. If you only without saying anything or defending the person, people will think you agree with the person who brought the complaint.
These were some tips to minimize politics at your workplace. You can also hire an Advisory Consulting firm to help you reduce politics at your workplace.