Quitting the players' club
By Brian Moore
August 24, 2009
OK, she may have been talking about smoking dope, but she could just as well have been referring to workplace maneuvering, whether it's blaming others or ostracizing co-workers.
To avoid these unproductive games, you first need to look inward. "It's not about the other. It's about you," says "Games at Work" co-author Mauricio Goldstein.
To get there, you have to be fed up with games on a gut, emotional level, he says, asking yourself: "Why am I playing these little games? Why am I encouraging someone else to play this game with me?"
You then have to decide on tactics, says co-author Philip Read. Ask yourself if you're in a position to "call" others on the games you're playing.
But pay attention to timing and don't grandstand like a self-righteous boob.
"We don't advocate that people go around and say, 'Ah, you're playing the Sandbagging game.'" Read says. "That's not effective."
Instead, start a tactful chat with co-workers and acknowledge your own participation in the games.
"When you engage from a place where you want to correct the other person, it is going to be bad," Goldstein says. "You need to engage in a conversation."
If you feel it's better to go to management with your concerns, back up your contentions with specifics on how the games are affecting the bottom line.
"Show that there's an organizational cost to it," says Goldstein. "Let's say we're playing a budget game. Show the number of hours we're taking to make these budgets. That often catches a manager's attention."
Then talk about how you can do it differently. A good way to do so is to examine root causes.
"We need to dig deeper into the game to find out why we are playing the game," he says. "Often it's to avoid confrontation."