Is It Time for Office Politics Training?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Whether your employees work at a remote location or in the office, interpersonal relationships can blow up when you least expect it. The continued strife between employees points to an obvious issue — it's time for office politics training for your sales managers. Your employees may either feel drawn to drama or repelled by it. Because office politics are a core part of every business, your managers must deal with the topic.

"There is no need to be afraid of office politics," Lawrence Cheok tells us in his blog post for LifeHack. "Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics."

Know What You're Trying to Achieve

Your managers may not be trying to win at office politics, but they do need to understand what is going on between feuding employees and why it is happening. Frequently, employees get involved in a conflict because they have different ways of doing things.

With good office politics training, your managers can learn how to observe what is happening between employees. They can then direct their sales reps to focus on what's best for the organization. When managers feel conflict rising, they should start asking questions about solving the problem in the best way for the business. When managers talk about the pros and cons of doing things for the betterment of revenue or efficiency for the customers, sales reps can change their thinking and behavior. The reps must learn that the end goal is the company's success — and the only way they win is if the company succeeds.

"You will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done," Cheok writes as he describes employees who learn how to reconsider conflict and office politics.

Remove Emotions from the Equation

Managers must also put their EQ to work. In office politics training, they'll learn to think before they speak. In a conflict, they won't let their temper get the best of them. And they'll be able to teach their employees this behavior as well. They must emphasize and model gracious behavior, instead of harshly criticizing an employee. Nobody wants to be taught a lesson in workplace comportment. No one forgets that kind of incident.

"People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. You’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person," Cheok reminds us all.

Office Politics Training

All the buzz is about Emotional Intelligence, and social skills carry more weight than ability does. Managers hire and promote people they can work well with, and people who work well with others. Skills can be taught. But if employees don't play well with others, they're out.

Your managers can help reps improve their soft skills. With the right office politics training, reps can learn to manage their disappointment in a professional way. They can also learn the kind of behavior they should engage in when they are seeking a promotion. For the most part, it's all about being a team member, keeping the good of the organization front and center, and staying visible to the decision-​makers who matter.