In the last post, we talked about management who impose change upon their staff without embracing change themselves. Change of any kind can be perceived as a political game, especially if a double standard is perceived from the leaders of the change. I've shared a lot about management transgressions in the past, and my upcoming book, GUST - The "Tale" Wind Of Office Politics, shares quite a few strategies for dealing with these challenges.
An earlier post from last year shared the first step in identifying the Game of office politics - in other words, what is being manipulated? The second step involves Understanding the game being played, and we've already talked about the three types of politicians: Snakes, Ostriches, and Bears. But it's not enough to understand the type of politician; one must also understand the motives behind the actions.
If one hopes to change the difficult and childish among us, it's important that you change your own point of view of the political situation first. And the best way to do that is to understand what is motivating the political behavior. We'll cover six kinds of motivational factors listed that tend to prompt office politics:
- Gain - somebody wants to obtain something they don't currently have: power, resources, information, relationships
- Drain - somebody wants to take away something that exists (generally with somebody else).
- Maintain - are you resistant to change? Then this might motivate political behavior.
- Contain - if you have a cult office culture, you want to keep things from escaping
- Chain - mergers and building alliances are ways bringing together things that otherwise would not have been combined
- Stain - damaging a relationship, a reputation, credibility can undermine another in today's competitive workplace.
In office politics situations, we often do not allow ourselves to assess objectively what is motivating political behavior. If a manager is behaving badly, we take an "us good, them bad" stance and brace ourselves for the conflict (or run and hide our head in the sand). If we truly want to make an impact on the behaviors of those around us, we need to begin by changing our own behaviors and tailoring our approaches to meet the motivations of those around us. Taking the time to understand the office politics situation an invaluable investment.