Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Majority of Workers Say Gossip is Most Common Form of Office Politics

Office Gossip. Photo Credit: Work Relationships.

Unlike many bloggers who cannot tell the difference between gossip and news, we can separate the wheat from the chaff. We have a NO GOSSIP policy, but Psst ... Have You Heard the News About Office Politics?
Do you believe this?

Read news release.

Majority of Workers Surveyed Cite Gossip as Most Common Form of Office Politics

TORONTO, Aug. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Politics may be better left outside of the office, a new Robert Half survey suggests. Four in 10 (40 per cent) workers interviewed characterized themselves as "occasional voters" when participating in office politics, limiting their involvement to issues that affect them directly. Another 39 per cent said they are "neutral parties" who stay completely out of the fray.

Although most employees report not being heavily involved in office politics, 56 per cent have observed political maneuverings on the job. Chief among these activities is gossiping, cited by 54 per cent of respondents, followed by flattering the boss to gain favour (20 per cent) and taking credit for others' work (17 per cent).

The survey was developed by Robert Half International, the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 700 workers in North America who are 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

Workers were asked, "Which one of the following most closely describes your involvement in office politics?" Their responses:

Active campaigner: I have to play
the game to get ahead ....................... 14%
Occasional voter: I get involved when
issues are important to me .................. 40%
A neutral party: I stay completely
out of the fray ............................. 39%
Don't know/no answer ......................... 7%

Workers also were asked, "In your opinion, which of the following activities is most common in your office when it comes to office politics?" Their responses:*

Gossiping or spreading rumours ............... 54%
Gaining favour by flattering the boss ........ 20%
Taking credit for others' work ............... 17%
Sabotaging coworkers' projects ............... 2%
Other ........................................ 7%

* Responses represent 399 of 716 workers (56 per cent), who cited office politics in their workplace.

"Becoming embroiled in office politics is never a good career move, but it's wise to be aware of political undercurrents on the job because they do exist in most organisations," said Max Messmer, Chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies(R), 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "There are people who seek to get ahead in their careers at the expense of others, and this behaviour erodes trust and undermines team morale."

Following are five types of office "politicians" and advice from Robert Half for effectively working with them:

1. The Gossip Hound. This person loves spreading rumours and can often
be found hovering around the water cooler, speculating about a
variety of sensitive issues. Keep your distance from the Gossip Hound
and don't say anything you wouldn't say to someone directly.
2. The Credit Thief. This individual loves the spotlight and relishes
taking credit for other people's work. When collaborating with a
Credit Thief, document your contributions. Provide regular updates to
your supervisor and correct any misrepresentations about your work.
3. The Sycophant. "Shameless" is this person's middle name -- he or she
will offer fulsome flattery to anyone who is in a position of power.
Although it may be hard to watch, don't sweat the Sycophant's
tactics. Most managers can see through them. Give kudos to deserving
individuals, regardless of their position.
4. The Saboteur. Watch your back when working with this person, who
loves to play the blame game and make others look bad. Limit your
interaction with this master manipulator and make sure to stand up
for yourself. Often, the Saboteur will back down when confronted.
5. The Adviser. This professional is often closely aligned with an
executive and serves as his or her eyes and ears. Develop a good
rapport with the Adviser because he or she could have a direct line
to the top.

To help professionals keep the political tone at work positive, Robert Half has introduced a new career guide, How to Navigate Office Politics: Your Guide to Getting Ahead, and videos illustrating office politics gone awry as part of the firm's ongoing video series, "Don't Let This Happen to You." Both can be found at roberthalf.ca/bloopers.

About Robert Half International

Founded in 1948, Robert Half International, the world's first and largest specialised staffing firm, is a recognised leader in professional staffing services. The company's specialised staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively, in the fields of accounting and finance; OfficeTeam, for highly skilled office and administrative support professionals; Robert Half Technology, for project and full-time technology professionals; Robert Half Legal, for project and full-time staffing of lawyers, paralegals and legal support personnel; and The Creative Group, for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals. Robert Half International has staffing operations in more than 350 locations worldwide. Find more information at roberthalf.ca, and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/RobertHalf_CAN.

SOURCE Robert Half Canada

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