The Danger of Business Politics

You don’t have to be working long before you witness politics in the business world. There’s something about human nature that seems to make that happen. Why?


Actually competition can be healthy. What is not healthy is one-upmanship. In the latter the concept of honest and healthy competition has been left behind and the realm of business politics has been entered. Let me explain what I mean.

What is Business Competition

While we typically think of competing with another company, if we look closely we will see that the competitive spirit spills over into the internal relationships in a business. Individuals may be competing in a sense to develop the best solutions. That is fine as long as it is not to prove superiority but just to spur each other on to accomplishments. When someone’s idea is better, acknowledge it and move on to the next thing. Well, actually before you move on you might want to understand a little about how they developed their solution. After all, it is a team effort.

What Business Competition Is Not

I think we all know we have left the competitive arena if we cheat and lie to beat our outside competitors. But internally, leaving the competitive arena may not be so obvious until it wreaks havoc in the company. When an employee takes others’ ideas and fails to give credit that is not competition but rather poor character. Likewise, when one employee tries to make others look bad, this also is not competition. Both of these and similar actions are really just business politics at their worst. Incidentally, if you have an issue with another employee to resolve, go to them first rather than just going over their head. No one likes to be talked about unknowingly and then blindsided.

Real Competition

Honest competition on the outside means studying your competitors and their offering and developing honest ways to compete. Can you make a product better, or do you offer better customer support, or do you have a broader product line, etc.?

Internally, competition is not destructive to others or the company. Actions are taken with the sincere intent to benefit the company and its employees. This in unlike business politics that seeks to harm others while making one or a few look better, often in the process damaging a company.

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As always, your comments are welcomed.


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