Tips For Managing Project Politics

Tips For Managing Project Politics

Tips For Managing Project Politics
 Tips For Managing Project Politics 

You have no doubt witnessed the rumor mill on your projects. Office politics can also be spiteful and mean, and it is best to stop that behavior before it gets out of control. Here are 5 tips about how to manage mis-communications that ultimately leads to misunderstandings and discontentment in the team.
1-Treat Everyone Fairly  
One of the easiest things you can do to avoid project politics is to prevent yourself getting into difficult situations in the first place. When you are filling in your project resource allocation software, do it with a view of what is fair and equitable. Don’t get into a situation where people grumble that they haven’t been given the same pick of tasks or the opportunity to grow their skills by taking part in something. Talk to everyone before you allocate work to them and make sure they have a chance to put forward the case as to why they should get involved in the ‘choice’ tasks. 

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By treating everyone fairly you can avoid a lot of the problems that are bundled into the category of ‘office politics’. You can justify why you have done things and you don’t play favorites, so everyone can see that your approach to dishing out work is the same for everyone.

1-Have An Open Door Policy  
Some office politics can be avoided simply by being approachable. Don’t let gossip about what may or may not be happening by making it easy for people to come and ask you. Have an open door policy, even if you don’t have an actual door! I don’t have a door and I do welcome people coming up to my desk to ask questions. Even those members of my teams who are not located in the same building as me (or when I’m working away) still know that I have an open door policy and are happy to ping me an email, drop me an instant message or give me a call to get a quick answer to their question. This is much better than making people wait to hear news in a formal meeting.
1-Don’t Hide Things  
Share, share, share. Be transparent in all your dealings. Let people know how you came to your decision and if you can involve others in the decision making, then do, although make it clear that the final call is down to you. Don’t gossip about other people behind their backs. In fact, don’t say or do anything that you wouldn’t be prepared to say to someone’s face or have done to you. That goes for written communication as well – it might feel less personal so it is easier to ‘get away with’ a different tone, but you really can read raised eyebrows in an email and snide comments.  
Assume that everything you say will get back to someone or be shared with someone that you weren’t expecting: would you be prepared to back up your statements?  Set a good example to your team and they will take their cues from you. Hopefully this will help reduce some of the behaviors that lead to difficult situations.

1-Rely On Honesty  
Be honest – one of the fastest ways to office politics is for you to tell one person on the project team something and then tell someone else something different. Don’t spin the message: make sure everyone gets to hear the same thing (which should be, of course, the truthful thing).  If you notice that your team members aren’t being honest, be that in their estimates for the project or in their dealings with stakeholders, then call them out. Sometimes you have to be the person who challenges inappropriate behavior. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be when you do have to challenge it as they will wonder why you have changed your approach now.
Ask For Advice  
Finally, if you really don’t know the best approach for managing a situation, ask for help. It is likely that someone else on the team or another project manager (or even your boss) has come across this situation before. They will have ideas about how you can handle it.  I have seen this several times. A project manager struggles with a particular situation and then when he is repeating the incident back to a colleague they say, “Oh, Alison never replies to email. It’s always best if you book a meeting with her assistant.” Knowing that would have saved a lot of time, and I expect you can think of similar scenarios that have happened to you or your friends. 

Take advantage of the knowledge that your colleagues and peers have and draw on their experience of dealing with difficult people and challenging situations. Even if they don’t have all the answers at least you won’t make the same mistakes they did!  Several of the points discussed here can be addressed by making sure that your team know what is acceptable and what is not. 
This is something you can talk to them about at your project kick off meeting. As well as discussing what you will do, talk about how you will do it. Make your feelings about office politics and inappropriate behavior known and then everyone will know where they stand and what will happen if they fall short of the standards expected.
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The Author: Ala'a Elbeheri
                                           Ala'a Elbeheri
A versatile and highly accomplished senior certified IT risk management Advisor and Senior IT Lead Auditor with over 20 years of progressive experience in all domains of ICT.  
• Program and portfolio management, complex project management, and service delivery, and client    relationship management.      
• Capable of providing invaluable information while making key strategic decisions and spearheading customer-centric projects in IT/ICT in diverse sectors.    
• Displays strong business and commercial acumen and delivers cost-effective solutions contributing to financial and operational business growth in international working environments.      
• Fluent in oral and written English, German, and Arabic with an Professional knowledge of French.  
• Energetic and dynamic relishes challenges and demonstrates in-depth analytical and strategic ability to facilitate operational and procedural planning.  
• Fully conversant with industry standards, with a consistent track record in delivering cost-effective  strategic solutions.    
• Strong people skills, with proven ability to build successful, cohesive teams and interact well with individuals across all levels of the business. Committed to promoting the ongoing development of IT skills  throughout an organization

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