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
Corporate Change Is Personal
We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.
Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President
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
LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.
LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.
Senior Marketing Manager
What a refreshing change from the half-baked psycho-babble you normally get from training and consulting organizations. LSA gives you the practical and results-oriented assistance you need to define and reach your goal. They provide a results driven plan – not just a temporary fix. They are great to work with, and even more importantly, they “get it!”
Vice President Human Resources
The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.
Vice President, Information Technology
LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.
Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources
We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.
We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development
I highly recommend LSA Global to anyone who is looking to improve individual or organizational effectiveness through their top quality programs and broad range of expertise.
VP of Human Resources
LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.
Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.
SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO
We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.
Director, Human Resources
We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.
Vice President, 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.
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
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.