Officina Politico

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Hands up those who have felt like doing one/of the below to your colleagues?
A) strangling B) hugging C) smacking D) kicking D) all of the above

Colleagues are the people we spend most of our waking moments with. If we spend between eight to 10 hours working each day, we are giving up up to 40% of our day and almost 30% of our week in the company of our co-workers – good or bad.

Inevitably there will be friction and there will be politics. When I went freelance for several years after working for 12 in an office fraught with office politics whether you wanted to play or not, one of the things that surprised me most was how much more time I had to actually work when I didn’t have to be in the office environment.

Then I did the dastardly stupid thing of going back to the snake pit, for various reasons, personal and professional. So for the past nine years, i have been trying to keep my sanity in an insane world of jealousy, scandal, backbiting but also professionalism. In the past four years, I have had to deal a little more with corporate management politics, which holds its own fascination.

I’m sure every manager will say their methods work best; I’ll try not to be as self-indulgent. I don’t think I am the best manager in the world but I do try to manage the best I can. As I look back on my career, sure, there are plenty of things I would do differently if I had the chance.

However, one of the things that has struck me most is that a lot of senior management people actually have less management skills than we give them credit for – mostly it has to do with not being able to separate personal relationships from work ones. It’s particularly bad when a senior manager starts an office romance with an underling.

I am a little ambivalent about office romances. I mean, people can hardly help it if they fall in love on the job; especially in certain professions where long hours are the norm. But if one of them is in a direct reporting line to the other, then I think the decent thing would be for one of them to ask for a transfer to another supervisor.

Obviously, not many people do that and the result, in one case in my office, is the birth of a pack of bullies who feel that they can intimidate their colleagues simply because they are tight with the [married] guy who is shagging the boss. The result is a fragmented office and good people abandoning ship. Not to mention all that potential for a sexual harrassment suite if it goes bad.