I am often asked, “Why office politics exist in the workplace?” The main reason people behave in this selfish manner is that they are biologically hot-wired to do so. If we want to improve how people behave in our organizations we need to use tools like Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP is also very effective at changing team dynamics so organizations are much more productive.

Video Transcript

The reason you’re watching this video is office politics may be something that’s going on in your organization. So the question is how much is that costing your organization? Well according to the folks at Gallup office politics costs a whopping three hundred fifty billion dollars a year in lost productivity, but that isn’t the only cost. When you have office politics and dysfunction happening in your teams you pay a much higher price.

I’m not sure if you have silos happening in your organization if you do different departments are not communicating with each other and sharing ideas and supporting each other in the way that they want and that is costing you a bundle. When you have office politics you can’t get a clear compelling vision where everybody comes together and says you know that is a goal worth going after, and when you have people that aren’t committed to the same goal it costs you big time.

Why do office politics exist in the workplace?

When you have office politics you have low trust, not sure if that’s happening in your organization but that just makes it you know a difficult place to get stuff done, a difficult place to retain employees, a difficult place to get people to go above and beyond the call of duty. If that’s happening in your organization it’s costing you a bundle.

If you have office politics you’ve got low confidence happening, when you have low confidence between each other and between the processes that we develop then people don’t fully commit to you and your organization and that, costs way too much. When you have office politics people are looking after their own ego their own selfish needs they put their needs and their department’s needs ahead of the organization all of that comes down to an organization when there’s a problem people are blaming each other and that is poison, toxic to you, toxic to your organization.

So the question is you know why do people do that? How do you get that office politics out of your organization? Well here’s how it comes in. So your ancestors maybe one hundred generations ago were a bunch of selfishness SOBs, if they found some food they guarded it with their lives and the beat people with clubs to get them away because if they eat that resource they had that food they became stronger, and as they became stronger they attracted cuter mates and more attractive mates, and together their offspring were stronger and more beautiful and they had an advantage over everyone else.

So we come to this selfish behavior because it’s genetically important for us to survive, but then we bring people into our organizations and we want them to set aside their biology this need to be you know important, to protect themselves and be selfish and put the needs of the whole organization ahead of theirs, and the only way you can do that is you need to understand that underneath every single behavior like blaming, like silos, like selfishness like ego behavior underneath every behavior what really counts is a belief in our unconscious that controls it.

So the only way you can change office politics remove it from your organization is figure out a way to change the behavior, and we do that, we spend a ton of money. We hire consultants we’ve got one hundred billion dollars a year industry of consultants coming into your organization telling you how to end office politics but most of the time they fail miserably because you’re trying to change behavior without addressing the underlying belief that controls it. If we want to create real change within our individuals, within ourselves, within our teams, within our organizations we need to understand as a leader you’re not in the process business – do these behaviors – you’re in the belief change business.

If you change the beliefs what happens is behaviors automatically and permanently change to more empowering ones where people go above and beyond the call of duty because it’s not about me, it’s not about my department, it’s about how do you make this organization strong, or better, faster? How do we beat the daylights out of the competition? How do you create an organization where people go out of their way to want to join us? Because we’ve got an organization where people are supporting each other doing meaningful work and making a difference in the world, and that’s your job as a leader is to do three things right now.

Why do office politics exist in the workplace and how to remove it?

One which you need to do is you need to have a compelling vision that’s strategically sound that people go, I would take a bullet for that. The second thing you need to do is to manage the culture so there’s no office politics, people are going above and beyond the call of duty. And the third thing is building long-term shareholder value so you grow your organization so it becomes more valuable.

To do that what you need to do is to educate yourself in the field of applied neuroscience, in the field of neurolinguistic programming, when you do that you understand how to change those beliefs so you become stronger. You understand that so you create a culture where people are setting aside their selfishness and embracing this new vision that you’ve developed and that’s how you build organizations that win.

More Resources

High cost of office politics

Six ways to end office politics

Office politics cost calculator

About the author 

Umar Hameed


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