Recognise Politics @ your work
Updated: Apr 23
This more about personality than work environment.
I remember interviewing an Analyst with a first from Oxford in a science subject and I explained that his personality type at work was not conducive to politics. We discussed the 4 Lowe personality profiles and he could readily identify a colleague as an Influencer type in his last workplace as they constantly referred to their work environment as highly political. At the time the Analyst did not understand or relate to the Influencer’s comments but which now made sense within the description of the 4 Lowe working profiles.
Analysts focus first on the task to do and secondly on the people doing it. The Influencer on the other hand will personalise a task and how they relate to it in terms of whether they like it, think it is fair or in their opinion doable. They enjoy office politics and in fact through gossip will be the primary instigators.
The Supporter can be political at work and will offer their opinion about colleagues, an opinion which will be based on whether or not they like the person. Supporters make judgements swayed by emotions with highly personal content and, if not the originators, they will certainly perpetuate a political environment. Unlike the Influencer who proactively promotes politics, their interaction will be more on a reactive rather than instigative basis.
When the Influencer or Supporter loses their job they will naturally take the loss personally and will contact and keep in touch with past colleagues to canvas opinion in their favour to demonstrate that the employer’s decision was unfair. This is all part of the same mentality which concentrates on the work place, from the people and personal perspective rather than the project’s commercial goals. The Analyst and the Creative do not enjoy politics. They view it as a distraction and counter-productive to moving the task forward.
Politics is a people-centric focus and the Analyst and Creative may feel that in the workplace too much emphasis is placed on the people interface and the subsequent distracting permutations, such as how colleagues will get along together, whether they like each other and if there will be a clash of personalities. Colleagues' geniality or moods are emotional factors which the Analyst and Creative can see no place for when they are managing an important project with the singular focus of delivering it on time and within budget.
Politics within an office environment can add flavour and a human face to the sometimes singular and fanatical focus of only profit rule ok. So there is a place, in my opinion, for all 4 personality types to work together and I would always be in favour of having some if not too much politics @ my work.