Article: Zero-sum game theory to survive the office stress


Zero-sum game theory to survive the office stress

Don't let stress of office politics get to you. Just follow these effective tips and survive a messy zero-sum game happily.
Zero-sum game theory to survive the office stress

Do you know that approximately 18 percent of workforce hates their jobs usually because they're treated badly at work? Some of them get involved in the workplace diplomacy for fear of being dragged into office politics and ruin the formerly-awesome workplace. Yes, the raajneeti at work, ego clashes that take ugly work-related fights and all the melodrama by the co-worker is common. There are high chances that sometimes you may find yourself inadvertently sucked into the dirty blame game. In today’s corporate culture, office politics is one of the biggest problems that every productive workforce faces today at the workplace. Right from dealing with a narcissist project coordinator who is a bully to annoying subordinates, back-biting colleagues, and a unappreciative boss, there is no escape from office politics.

"Wikipedia explains workplace politics as the process and behavior in human interactions involving power and authority.”

The findings from a number of surveys and online polls on workplace trends revealed that nearly 60% of employees showed green flag to office politics to get ahead. Some of the career-savvy professionals remain attuned to work diplomacy and don't allow themselves to get pulled into a same vivacious circle to save their working relationships with their bosses. A further 23% of respondents believe that involvement in office politics indeed give an edge to their inability to grow into an expanding role.

Predictably, over 16% of the respondents were not reluctant to be a part of workplace diplomacy until no one gets hurt. And finally, 12% employees believe that the presence of ego issues and a lack of ego management is a major cause of office politics.

One aspect that is common in all the above-mentioned pointers: the acceptance of "workplace politics" that making employees suffer considerably higher levels of depression, constant intense pressure and work-related stress that leave them feeling drained. At a deeper level, it creates a depressing work environment that dominates the already motivated "productive workforce" and many of them prefer to leave the organization in sheer frustration during the exit interview process. On the other side of the coin, some of the employees who are good at playing this game gladly become a part of this shit in the good graces of the powerful people. 

Also, it was found that a large majority of workforce prefers not to deal with workplace diplomacy, staying away from rivals and simply walk out whenever they get the right opportunity without any clarification. However, there are some meddlesome individuals at every office who (strongly deny the fact that office politics is a universal phenomenon) and they choose actually to confront the back-biting colleagues and annoying bosses. As a result, these brave souls find themselves in a big disaster that is absolutely unpleasant, can get messy and drains on their productivity.

How to deal with organizational politics?

Office politics began with the intentional behavior of colleagues whose interests do not align with other co-workers. Can human resource (HR) managers do away with workplace diplomacy? The answer is YES. In fact, there are many companies that are taking necessary steps to identify the culprits and fighting back hard against these monsters to nip office politics in the bud. To curb it, some organizations are getting open for more inter and intra-departmental interactions while encouraging fair policies and transparent systems at the workplace. Interestingly, there are some corporates that are using "Psychological Aikido" to keep behavioral issues like politicking at bay and thus, creating a great organizational culture. They believe that it is the easiest way to let the workforce master the wisdom of winning "office politics grapevine" that not only carries negative traits, but destroy the happy work environment.

Psychological Aikido training is an effective way to encourage the ability of demotivated (and frustrated) employees to relax the mind and body even under the stress at hard-to-avoid-stressful-situations. In this, an individual mentally praising herself with thoughts like " What a talent I am! I can keep calm even with such a person!" when the opponents are roaring. The art of psychological aikido works strongly on how efficiency an individual balances the aggression and negative thoughts during the tough times.

Besides practicing the art of psychological aikido, you can also try the below-given ways to win the underlying psychology of office politics without a fight and survive a messy zero-sum game happily. Let's take a look:

Ignorance is bliss

Believe it or not, each and every organization is political – and to some extent, it always will be. We cannot escape, at the best of our intentions, the vicious clutches of messy office politics, which have a significant portion of workplace-related stress. The obvious underlying reason behind this zero-sum game of organizational politics is humans and their psychology. We, humans, are highly emotional creatures with lots of insecurities and evolutionary needs. Within the corporate world today, dynamics among the workforce (read: impatient creatures of emotions) sparks the so many adverse effects of organizational politics, which eclipse the healthy working environment, curb the productivity at the workplace and hijack the bright future of the organization. Ignorance is bliss to play clean and to survive all the negative connotations associated with organizational politics.

Get Along...Get Ahead

This very rule of mine to govern the stress of workplace diplomacy worked for me in my professional life many times. This way, you can promote cooperation and healthy relations at the workplace with the group-living workforce. Working together as a team on a project, surely provide you a major context for bonding and affiliation. "Get Ahead" works quite well to start the power struggle within group members, typically who are battling hard and playing mind games (instead of working hard) to climb up the group hierarchy. Beat the internal competition and friction by getting yourself promoted to a higher position so that you're more willing and able to be in charge of a group. Take advantage of an ecosystem of knowledge, especially if you're working with large groups like organizations, where prowess and knowledge work as a lens to grab the desired opportunities within the fierce competition era.

Lay off the gossip at workplace

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss opportunities. Small minds discuss people and speak negatively. Stop your counterproductive behavior in the workplace because it can whack your personal and professional growth as a human being. An individual should always lay off the office gossip or avoid getting engaged with the over-enthusiastic irritants who are trying their level best, with full glory, to disrupt your productivity and mental harmony.

Never promote office politics

For all those individuals who are willingly or unwillingly supporting the negative connotations of organizational politics, it is predominant to realize that office politics are inevitable, but a corrosive impact of untrammeled work diplomacy is absolutely unwelcoming. Employees who belong to the higher organizational hierarchy should discourage promoting all those individuals who are playing the game because this might leave most of the hardworking employees demoralized. As a result, they might defeat their own sacrifices and efforts they've made in the workplace. Also, there is a possibility that these individuals can unite together against their bosses or senior leadership and, in turn, affect the organizational effectiveness.

Some classic advice to senior management

The senior leadership, managers, and senior executives should perpetuate at the workplace and take the desired efforts to manage the tensions within workforce while recognizing the psychological underpinnings of office politics.

In motivating their employees to try harder, it is quite prerequisite for good leaders to persuade the employees of the bright-side personality characteristics and actively focus on out-performing common adversaries i.e. the organization's primary antagonists.

Also, they should try to become aware of the major driving forces behind organizational politics to further their personal agenda rather than ducking their heads in the sand or looking the other way. Both staff and senior management, on dealing with office politics, must acknowledge its presence first and then, input all the necessary steps to mitigate the effects of politics inside the office. Now that you know the best tips to beat the stress related to office politics, it's high time to work together towards a common vision i.e. motivate the workforce to attain a collective organizational goal and diminish the contradiction of organizational politics that is widening by the day.

Read full story

Topics: Culture

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?

Your opinion matters: Tell us how we're doing this quarter!

Selected Score :