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11 ways company politics can thwart your projects

Moira Alexander | Jan. 27, 2017
Politics is an unfortunate reality in many workplaces, but there are steps you can take to reduce the pervasiveness and impact to projects.

8. Spreading gossip or lies about others.

This particular issue is very difficult to get around, as chatter is a natural part of human nature to some extent (when not destructive). It is important for project management professionals to lead by example and set expectations about appropriate behavior right out of the gate. A PM should convey they expect mutual respect and support among team members and others, and that gossip and lies will not be accepted. Sometimes it may be a simple matter of explaining how damaging gossip is to peers and how it influences everyone's morale and productivity.

9. Taking credit for the work, effort or ideas of subordinates and others.

Credit grabbing is another area that can prove highly problematic for project managers everywhere. No employee appreciates another employee or leader undeservedly taking credit for his or her work. As a project manager make it your business to keep abreast of the work being done, recognizing, disclosing, and where possible rewarding the appropriate individuals, not just their superiors. Very often, management receives the credit or takes the credit for the work of their employees. This can lead to a lack of trust by employees and ultimately sabotage future efforts. Recognition should go directly to the individual who has made the contribution; most employees don't mind sharing some of the credit when they are fairly recognized and compensated for their own hard work. Furthermore, if employees believe their contributions are not valued or recognized, they often withdraw or reduce participation, and eventually withhold information.

Project leaders need to work on improving morale throughout every stage by remaining transparent, fair and open, along with regular communication. A project manager who keeps two-way communication flowing and is respectful to everyone is more likely to catch gaps in participation faster.

While there are many other motivations for political behavior in the workplace and projects, many of these can be addressed by PM professionals with the help of business leaders. The key is being expedient and sincere in seeking the best solution to help project teams, functional leaders, and sponsors achieve stakeholder goals, without compromising their value in the process.


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