In business you’ll often hear statements like, “I had a bad day at the office because there were too many politics!” Or “I am fed up of petty office politics.”
The reality is that every organization in one form or another will deal with workplace, office or what is generally called “corporate politics.” It is a byproduct of efforts to develop a sustainable company culture.
By definition, “Organizational politics are informal, unofficial, and sometimes behind-the-scenes efforts to sell ideas, influence an organization, increase power, or achieve other targeted objectives.” And they are rarely a welcome part of the business landscape.
In the same way that there are two sides to every coin, everything has its arguably positive and negative points or (a.k.a. pros and cons). Most people focus mainly on the negative aspect of cringeworthy corporate politics. However, corporate politics has a number of overlooked advantages as well.
Let’s look at both sides of the coin.
Pros of corporate politics
It has been said, “Success is not a destination, it is a journey.” So, to make this journey in business and learn to live and let live. Corporate politics can help you learn the art of not being ruffled by petty politics and instead single-mindedly focus on the task at hand.
Mental strength and toughness are very strong attributes in business and when you’re developing your character. This strength cannot be achieved if you instinctively run away from negative situations. Corporate politics can definitely make you stronger as you learn to navigate a “survival of the fittest” marketplace. Along the way, you automatically learn to become strong.
A positive attitude is key to personal growth and living a positive life. You have to ignore negative office politics and adopt a positive approach and outlook. Corporate politics can teach us to be positive at all times, no matter the situation around us.
In fact, James Clear asserts how research shows, “The benefits of positive thoughts don’t stop after a few minutes of good feelings subside. In fact, the biggest benefit that positive thoughts provide is an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life.”
In order to obtain a precious jewel it has to be mined, polished, and go through a lot of hardship to finally attain its invaluable form. Similarly, in order to become successful and thereafter enjoy success, you’ll often go through a number of hardships in the workplace–corporate politics being one of them.
Cons of corporate politics
Now, let’s explore the negative aspects and unnecessary evil of corporate politics.
“Time and tide wait for none,” especially not for office politics. Corporate politics lead to a lot of wasted time. When you’re plotting, planning and scheming for all of the wrong things to satisfy selfish interests it results in a tremendous waste of time which results in unfulfilled goals, lost productivity and poor work performance.
Those who engage in office politics or become a victim to it often experience a drastic drop in productivity. If you’re continuously engaged in office politics your energy and concentration are diverted from the work at hand. A healthy office environment–free from politics–enhances productivity and creates a culture for your team to thrive.
Stress is major obstacle to progress. Corporate politics yields a thousand times more stress than a healthy workplace culture. It also leads to an unfriendly atmosphere and causes ill will amongst colleagues. Petty politics spoil relationships which otherwise could bloom.
Stunted business growth
The growth of your business can easily be adversely impacted by corporate politics. Corporate politics are often a result of personal motives and selfish interests that have little to do with the collective interests of your company. For business to grow, you need to employ a diligent team that is focused on the mission and vision you’ve set forth.
Like everything else, corporate politics has both its good and bad points. Ironically, on one hand it hampers individual growth and on the other it gives you strength, confidence and wisdom to grow. When you’re aware of the pros of corporate politics while avoiding engagement in it you can create an enjoyable work environment and refocus on what matters most.
Arun Kumar Mishra, fondly known as Success Guru AK Mishra, is the Founder and Director of Chanakya IAS Academy and his dream Organization AK Mishra’s Art of Success. He is a celebrated motivational speaker who has been passionately providing his Art of Success training all over India to bring revolutionary transformation in human behavior. For more than two decades he has been inspiring youth with his motivational lectures. Through the AK Mishra’s Art of Success initiative, AK Mishra aspires to empower, inspire and program human minds to achieve success in every sphere of life. Connect with @guruakmishra on Twitter.