By Joel Mandre
Joel Mandre is a contributor to “For Renegade Entrepreneurs Only”
Office politics are something that every business owner cringes over. These politics can put exceptional employees against each other and cause production to grind to a halt. While some business owners will turn a blind eye and hope that things will eventually work itself out in the long run, the truth is that you need to take action right away and ensure that the changes that need to take place actually happen.
Look at the Processes of your Company
A root cause for many of the problems that a company faces begins with a process that causes it to be ineffective. Often, this is something as simple as not defining who is responsible for a certain task, or a conflict between two positions is in the process that creates tension that may be unnecessary.
When the processes you have in place are not working for everyone, it begins to impact the harmony in their department and employeesbegin to feel overwhelmed and resentful. In many cases, something as simple as a review of the process in the company can determine where a problem is and then a workaround can be investigated to satisfy the needs of all employees.Put an End to Power Hungry Individuals
You will find that many of the annoyances that come into play with office politics deal with attention seeking, power hungry individuals who want to crawl up the ladder and to appear more important in the company than they may actually be. These are often people who have psychological issues and need to be dealt with accordingly. They will lash out if confronted about their aggression and change face when you are speaking to them. The only individual they truly fear is the owner of the company. A better choice is to even the field for employees so that this type of individual is never given a sense of power over anyone else.
Become Okay With Firing Terrible Employees
In every company, there are three kinds of people that will show themselves and prove to be a problem for you. These terrible employees are incredibly destructive and don't often provide any kind of benefit to your business. It is critical you work them off your payroll as quickly as possible. Things will generally get better when they are involved.
The first is the person who will manipulate people within the company to get some “juicy” gossip going and begin office drama solely for their own enjoyment. They thrive off the chaos that they create and will seek out drama when it is possible. Eventually, they will create some kind of unnecessary chaos that will have several important individuals pitted against each other and your business will be harmed as a result. Getting them out the door as quickly as possible will be critical.
The next individual that needs to be removed from the picture is the individual that leeches onto a person of power and attempts to become an important part of this person’s routine. Often, they will seek out a person of power who is overwhelmed and begin to take on various tasks and form a friendship with this person of importance. Often, this friendship is for their benefit and there is no true loyalty there.
Eventually, they are in a position where they become comfortable bossing people around and making inappropriate decisions for the company, because they are “close to the boss”. It is important you remove this person from power and distance yourself from them as this negative behavior will drive good people away from your company. If you get a reputation of having a negative work environment based on the actions of this individual, you may also find that getting quality talent to apply can be difficult.
A third individual who will prove to be dangerous is the individual that doesn’t play by the rules and do all they can to avoid doing a process that might seem to take too long in their mind. These individuals tend to ignore hard hats in construction zones and will increase your liability over time. In many cases, they will cost you customers because they want to try their approach, regardless if it is a smart move or not. Since this is your business, you need to take action and remove the problem before it continues to escalate and eventually get out of control.
Use Performance Reviews to Stay On Top of Things
Before things get out of hand, know where your employees stand at all times. While some companies will do annual performance reviews, they often don’t address problems soon enough. A better choice is to work with your employees and do a monthly or bi monthly performance review with them.
During this time, you can sit down with the individual and look at the strengths and focus on areas that need to be improved. You can create a monthly course of action to help them to grow and before long you should find that they are headed in the right direction with the corrective behavior. If for some reason they struggle or continue a downward slide, this will also give you the information needed to terminate them and to have documentation that can help to avoid a wrongful termination charge.
If you begin to take action and deal with problems head on, before they get out of hand, you can begin to get rid of the conflicts and drama that can knock down your company. What you might not realize is that for all the good employees can do, they can also be destructive if they aren’t handled accordingly. Because of that, you need to be proactive and maintain the reigns of your company before things get too far out of hand.