Free Press Journal

Agony Aunt helps you to deal with workplace problems


Filthy office politics

I work with a NGO. While the money is not that great, I love the cause and the work that I do and all that I am able to contribute to in terms of the work to the social good sector that the NGO is involved in. However, it is the office politics that bothers me tremendously. I cannot wrap my head around how and why people involved in work that does so much good outside can be so petty and indulge in politics and petty bickering inside. It is very disturbing. The office has factions and groups and politicking. It has taken my faith away from the industry that is supposed to do good work.

Ans: Many a times we get influenced by others around and start questioning the purpose of things that we are doing because the opposite side seems to be more powerful. A very similar scenario is quite possibly taking place at your workplace as well because of which your motivation and belief in the work is shaky at the moment. Your perception is being influenced by how others are in your surrounding which might not always be a positive influence. As long as you are being away from the office politics and not actively involving yourself in the process, how others behave apart from their work shouldn’t be a concern. You can always give in your opinions or voice out your concerns whenever possible so that you do not end up with the feeling of resignation.

Favouring wrong employee

My boss favours my colleague over me and over any of the other team members. This colleague sweet talks the boss, does personal favours and goes out of his professional capacity to support him. As a result, our hard work and efforts to deliver at work are overlooked and he is favoured because of his personal equation with the boss. This is creating resentment, bitterness and anger in the team…motivation levels are down and tempers are flaring. As co-team leader, I am at a loss how to handle this situation. My own frustration levels are rising.

Ans: The mediation can be brought about by holding a team meeting and letting everyone raise their grievances which can then be collectively taken up to your boss and discussed at length. If the whole office atmosphere is being dampened by one individual and his equation, that person should also be cued into the same. As a co-team leader, the onus falls onto you to keep calm and address this situation rather than giving into your frustrations. this issue needs to be resolved without attaching the blame to anyone in particular.

Feeling left out

I just joined a new organisation in a team that has known each other for 3-4 years. While I am by nature, bubbly, friendly and outgoing, different team members have differing personalities. They have bonds that go a long way and I am more of an outsider. While they are all civil and cordial and nice, I do not know where I stand amongst them especially as I recently had a conflict of interest with one of the team members. That outsiderish feeling can be discomforting and I do not know how long it will take to be part of the inner circle.

Ans: The first step could possibly be to make yourself comfortable in the work environment without being concerned about the other team members. once you are certain that the environment is to your liking, you can then work with the team members and your equation with them. the ice breaker phase is really essential, especially when there are people who know each other for a longer time frame than you. often it takes few conversations to strike a good equation and it can be started with one or two members and then gradually with everyone around so that it doesn’t seem too overwhelming. believing that you are an outsider and others would have difficulty involving you in the inner circle would lead to making little or no attempt at establishing cordial work relations. thus, letting go of your inhibitions and trying to make yourself more comfortable at work is very essential.

Unethical work culture

The work culture in my office is very unethical. The organisation has a lot of issues where individuals, policies, and events are compromised. However, the money has always been good and the experience that I have received cannot be replicated elsewhere. I feel at a crossroad as a result of this.

Ans: When decisions must be made after reaching a crossroad, noting down the pros and cons of each decision generally helps clear misconceptions. You may have worked earlier somewhere and thus realised that the work experience is better at this place, but closing down your options to shift only on the basis of work experience might make you stick around this current workplace which also has flaws. The unethical work culture might lead to circumstances that you may not be able to skirt around as you are a part of the organisation. Thus, weigh the pros and cons of working at the current workplace and accordingly take a call.