Workplace Politics and the Dangers of Infighting
One of the ways to quickly disengage workers is to allow infighting to become a real issue of “us vs. them.” We know from our annual engagement research that workplace politics creates employee disengagement regardless of industry, geography, tenure or title. Engaged workforces have smoothly running teams where disagreements can be handled constructively.
Differences in the Workplace Are Inevitable
Whenever you have more than one employee, there are bound to be different points of view on what work needs to be done, how it should be accomplished and who is accountable. But it is a leader’s responsibility to see that there is a strong enough foundation of trust that different perspectives are aired and dealt with in a way that benefits team strength and resilience.
How to Achieve the Ideal
Because workplace politics creates employee disengagement, here is some field-tested advice on how to deal with uncomfortable disagreements:
1. Establish Open Communication as a Value
Expect your employees to treat each other with respect. This includes giving each one an opportunity to express their views without repercussion. Invite questions at team meetings. Listen to and consider suggestions for improvement. Allow constructive debate.
Do not tolerate interruptions, put-downs, gossip, name-calling or any other rude behavior. Hold yourself and your team accountable for openly and respectfully communicating with one another.
2. Don’t Let Disagreements Fester
On the best of teams there will be differences; you can’t assume they will always be solved on their own. Unresolved, most disagreements will only fester into bigger issues that involve people taking sides. Address the differences as soon as they arise.
Do not ignore negative side comments or a discussion that threatens to become heated.
3. Sidetrack Arguments
If an issue threatens to derail an otherwise productive meeting, table it. Then schedule a meeting with the combatants so that you avoid an unnecessary and public airing of the problem. Set up rules of “engagement” whereby each will have their say but insist that they stick to the facts.
Then look for points of commonality and agreement. If the issue cannot be resolved, they must agree to disagree and you, as team leader, have the final vote on how to proceed.
4. Try to Uncover Motives
If you have an employee who always seems to stir up trouble, offend others, or regularly bucks the system, schedule time to explore the cause. Are they simply unable to work well with others? Then they may be in the wrong role. Or is there something behind their actions? Your understanding of what is going on behind the scenes may be all that’s needed.
The Bottom Line
A disengaged team is an unproductive team. Workplace politics creates employee disengagement…but not at your workplace. Keep your workplace as free from office politics and destructive relationships as possible. The antidote to the kind of atmosphere that fosters dissent is trust combined with open, respectful communication.
To learn more about workplace politics, download Workplace Politics Strategies to Effectively Influence Others
A Meaningful Company Mission Matters
The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.
VP of Human Resources
Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.
VP Human Resources
“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”
VP Human Resources
LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.
Director, Software Engineering, EPG
LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.
Vice President, HR and IT
Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.
Vice President of Human Resources
PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.
Vice President of Human Resources
VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.
Cindee Van Vleck
Director Human Resources
SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.
Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.
Chief Financial Officer
We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.
Vice President Human Resources
I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.
We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics
I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.
Director, Business Planning & Analysis
LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!
Director of HR
Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.
Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations? Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.
Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.
First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.
Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.
Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.