It’s human nature to feel slighted when someone else gets the promotion. And, the urge to gossip about the unfairness of who gets the office with the window is something many people can’t resist. The problem with office politics is they can easily spin out of control. One of the early leaders at Facebook recently discussed how the company works to minimize office politics. Facebook’s strategies might be food for thought as you try to conquer this problem at your company.
One way to keep office politics off the radar is to hire the right people. Whether you use a personality test or rely on your HR department, you should screen for certain characteristics. Specifically, you should ask the candidate what he thinks about office politics in general. Since office politics can often be traced to a disappointment like a project failure, ask the candidate how he handled a task that didn’t work out and what he learned from it. His answers will clue you in to whether he’s apt to blame others for his problems – a clear indication that he might ignite office politics.
Instances of people or teams not getting along pop up in every organization regardless of how careful you are with hiring. Your managers should be prepared and ready to deal with these situations. At Facebook, managers and employees are trained in learning and development sessions. They become familiar with how to diffuse tense situations by taking specific steps. You can take these steps too:
- Explain that you saw something you didn’t like
- Articulate your feelings
- Define what the result of the bad behavior was
You can manage office politics through careful hiring and by addressing problems directly, in an unassuming and non-confrontational way, when you see them. Check out the other Facebook practices described by Jay Parikh, including maintaining a culture of openness and see if any of them will work for your organization.