Is It Really “Bad” Office Politics? Or Is It Your Perspective?
- May 30, 2016
- Office Politics
- No responses
We all know the legendary view of Office Politics. It’s seen as bad with backstabbing and career damaging outcomes. Everyone wants to avoid the fall out with that type of behavior.
But, what if I told you that you now only can’t avoid it, you are part of it even if you think you aren’t AND it’s not always bad?
You’d probably think I was crazy and I can understand. The problem isn’t that I’m crazy, it’s that we have come to believe the wrong things. We believe in an urban myth about Office Politics.
Office Politics, by definition, is actually a very neutral thing. It is about the dynamics between people in a group when decisions get made. It’s the idea that when a decision maker is about to make a decision about something, it always involves people. It’s the outcome of the decision that causes people to perceive the decision as positive or negative, depending on the decision and how it impacts each individual person.
Let’s look at an example of how this might work:
The boss is going to promote someone into a higher position. There are 3 strong people to consider but only one can be selected for the position. That means 1 person gets the promotion and the other 2 are passed over. This happens everyday right? This is a fairly common scenario. But, what if one of the two that doesn’t get the promotion is you? And what if you think you’re more qualified than the person who got the promotion? What’s your perception now?
Do you think the person who got the promotion was a suck up to the boss? Or maybe you think the boss is out of touch or some other thoughts?
But, what if you were the person that got the promotion and the other 2 didn’t? It changes the story you were having about Office Politics. Your perception has changed completely depending on the impact to you. If you are supported it’s simply a good decision, if you aren’t supported it’s bad Office Politics.
So, how did the urban legend become a common belief about Office Politics?
While I don’t think we’ll ever really know, I do have some thoughts about how that has occurred.
It’s no secret that there way too many bad bosses out there in the business world, doing stupid things simply because they lack the insight to think through their behavior. Those are the same bad bosses that make decisions that are ill-informed and shallow. I’ve yet to see a bad boss that wasn’t jerking around a number of people without giving it a second thought.
Add to the bad boss situation our own self-centered view of how things should work and you now have a universal perception that Office Politics is bad. Even some of the worst performers I’ve been around thought that they were great, when they absolutely were nowhere close. Astonishingly, when things don’t go in their favor, they thought they were the victims of bad Office Politics. Not even close.
The person that didn’t get the promotion probably wasn’t the best candidate even if they had more years of experience. You will never know all the factors that are considered when the boss makes a decision and it’s not your place to know them all the time. Most of the time, they make the best decision with the information and resources they have.
You have a choice about how to react to the next big decision the boss makes, especially when it doesn’t go in your favor. You can choose to be the victim and walk away believing it’s bad Office Politics or you can choose to be the best pick the next time the boss makes a decision.
What perception serves you the best?
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