office politics

The Counterproductive Effects of Office Politics

As a business person or an employee, the chances are that you’ve seen your fair share of office

As a business person or an employee, the chances are that you’ve seen your fair share of office politics. This peculiar phenomenon can come in different forms. The reasons people engage in it range from the hope of using it to attain higher positions or simply the need to flex more professional muscles over their colleagues in a series of power plays.

In certain situations and by some strange stroke of luck, these politics might work. They could get you that promotion. They could help you become your boss’s or coworkers’ object of admiration. But, more often than not, they work at the expense of someone else or some other people. This places a question mark on whether these office politics are correct or not.

Besides, this is only one end of the stick. There are also several situations where office politics might not be the best idea to engage in, especially when you’re looking to make advancements in your career. If you have doubts, you should keep reading as we explore the counterproductive effects of office politics.

1. “Us” Versus “Them.”

If you’ve ever engaged in office politics before, the chances are that you want to get to higher positions in your career and within the office. We wouldn’t be so bold as to directly point to what you may or may not have done. However, we’ll take a wild guess and say that at different points in time, you might’ve tried to put yourself ahead of someone else in some strange form of office competition.

If this is the case, you cannot deny that it caused a rift between you and the other party. This is one of the significant downsides of office politics. It creates a division between you and the people you’re playing against. In the end, you’ll hardly be able to function with them appropriately. Getting assigned a task with them on your team would be the equivalent of putting oil in water.

When that happens, you’ll ultimately become significantly less productive and efficient at your job. This avoidable inefficiency caused by office politics becomes counterproductive in your efforts at climbing the career ladder.

2. Karma

More often than not, people at different workplaces want to be left alone to do their jobs and go back home quietly. Strange as it might sound, some aren’t particularly happy about their career or its trajectory. As such, they do not need any drama that comes with being at that place of work. So, they often mind their business go about their day steadily, hardly ever bothering anyone.

However, some of these types of people can quickly switch and become more manipulative/aggressive when it becomes evident that they’ve become the object of your office politics. Immediately they sense that you’re working against them in one way or the other, they too will begin looking for ways to get back at you. Sometimes, you might not suffer any consequences. But, other times, you would’ve met your match in these people, and they won’t stop until they’ve done more damage to you and your reputation than you could’ve done to theirs.

It’s simply a case of getting a taste of your own medicine. When that happens, you could lose everything from your chances at a promotion to the opportunity to impress your boss. This is one of the most prominent counterproductive effects of office politics, and you need to be especially aware of it.

3. Corruption

The English historian, Lord Acton, once said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We won’t pretend that office politics won’t get you anywhere. No, that’ll be self-deceit.

If you play your cards right, your office politics might get you just what you want. It’s only natural, and sometimes, the more questionable your schemes, the more likely they are to put you in your superior’s good books. But, when you get that power, there’s a considerable chance that it would get to your head.

You see, you might tell yourself now that you’re not that type of person. You might say that you’re not the type of man or woman who would begin to act or look down on others simply because of your position. However, many people say that just because they haven’t gotten to that position yet.

Power gotten through questionable means often corrupts, and if you get yours through shady office politics with very little sense of responsibility, you might fall victim to the same fate. In the end, the people you were meant to lead in the first place might become opposed to being led by you. You’d have a plethora of dissatisfied subordinates, and that’s never good for business.

All in all, you might have shot yourself in the leg.

The Alternative to Office Politics

Like we mentioned earlier, many people engage in office politics to get one or two rungs higher on the career ladder. The goal/motive is understandable, but the method is as inefficient as it is questionable. So, what do you do instead?

Put in the work. When the time arrives to solve tasks at work, do it with as much zest and passion as you can mutter. Your work will speak for you without you necessarily trying to pull down anyone else. But there’s only so much that pure grit can get you. So, when you feel a little stuck or a tad demotivated, consider getting a mentor. This person would act as your anchor. They’ll have gone ahead of you in their career and can show you the different areas you can improve yourself.

In that regard, our best recommendation at the moment is the Pervium Career Advancement Masterclass.


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