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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

Office Politics is the New Flu

Office Politics is the New Flu

Office politics are like the flu. Most of us know that there’s nothing worse for morale than getting tangled up in workplace politics. No matter how much you want to avoid them, there’s no absolute way to ensure that you can stay away from office politics.

Like the flu, office politics are highly contagious. Sometimes things your coworkers are talking about include useful information, but other times, gossips just mean trouble. With each new person that becomes involved, the issues spread. Before long, people are at each other’s throats, undercutting one another, and worrying about whether they’ll keep their jobs.

If you don’t catch and treat the symptoms of office politics early, they can spread like wildfire and paralyze your organization.

The Flu Incubates Silently

Much like influenza is triggered by environmental factors, office politics require a certain environment to infect a work place. Whenever a company undergoes change, politics can come to light. The changes could be as simple as promoting a new manager, firing an employee, expanding the company, or downsizing.

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    In the same way that the flu affects those with weakened immune systems first, office politics start with weak employees. Staff members who only care about their success without worrying about the company tend to be affected first.

      People who care only for themselves without thinking about the needs of the company can be disastrous for workplace culture. They treat people who agree with them well, and they reject anyone with a different opinion.

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      When the office gossips become involved, the disease spreads. A lack of transparency regarding policies about performance evaluations and promotions intensifies the political situation. Employees start competing with each other instead of working together, and progress ceases.

      It’s Highly Contagious

      Policies combined with certain personalities enable office politics to take over a workplace quickly. At first, the symptoms are mild. Perhaps a few people feel resentful toward one person, and they chat about them behind their back.

      Think of this as the way you feel when you are just coming down with the flu. Maybe you started coughing, your nose was a bit runny, or you felt a chill. Sure, you can probably get through your day just fine, but these symptoms are warning you that a bigger problem is on the way.

      What started out as a little gossip rapidly turns into a situation in which a small group gangs up against one person. In response, the person may form a posse of their own. Before you know it, they’re competing for a spot at the top of the company instead of working together for the good of the organization.

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      This wouldn’t be a huge deal except that eventually this affects everyone in the office. Even those who aren’t interested in getting involved may be dragged into the dispute. Employees who do not become involved may quit because of the working environment.

      At this point, everyone is unhappy at work. The quality of work decreases as employee stress increases. Company outputs come to a grinding halt.

        Build a Strong Immune System

        When the flu starts going around, people have a number of reactions. Some ignore the symptoms and feel sicker. Others rest, take medicine, and drink plenty of water to help with recovery. Others do their best to prevent it, and even though they may still come down with it, they usually know what they need to do to get better.

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        The same is true for office politics. Politics may affect people differently, but the key is to get better quickly and build a stronger immune system. Here are some ways to do it:

        1. Hire wisely. Preventing office politics from becoming a problem starts during hiring. When an organization finds a person with the ambition to support the company’s goals instead of focusing solely on personal success, they are worth hanging on to.
        2. Be fair and clear about expectations. Organizations need ground rules so that everyone can have a rewarding work experience. Maintaining transparency so that employees understand how and why decisions are made reduces chatter. Making sure that the workload is distributed fairly, prohibiting gossip, and giving people the chance to voice their opinions constructively can be a big help.
        3. Look out for signs of trouble. If everyone–especially leadership– keeps an eye on the workplace’s culture, you’ll be able to spot the symptoms of office politics when they first start instead of waiting for productivity to suffer.

        Treat the Symptoms as Soon as You Sense Them

        Don’t allow the contagion to continue spreading. When you know there’s a problem, tackle it head on.

        • Root out the origin. Office politics usually start with one person or a handful of people. Identify and talk to that person to figure out what is driving the drama. This can help you determine if the issue started because of problems with management or hiring. Sometimes a polite chat can reverse the damage right away.
        • Know when to say goodbye. If the person can’t understand the consequences of their actions, or if they aren’t willing to listen, they may not be a good fit for your office. Let them go to save your office culture.

        You may not be in a position to hire and fire people, but you still have a responsibility to care about your company’s culture. If you see something concerning, bring it up with your manager so that they can handle it proactively.

        Leadership that cares will spring into action to stop the illness from spreading. Managers with bad intentions will choose to do nothing. If you bring a concern to your leadership and they refuse to come up with a solution, it may be time for you to move on. You need to be in an environment that won’t stunt your professional growth.

        Nobody Is 100% Immune to the Flu of Office Politics

        The best way to cure office politics is to stop them as soon as they start. Even if you try your best to stay out of them, they can very quickly make your workplace stressful and unpleasant. The best thing you can do is recognize the signs of trouble early so that you or your leadership team can treat the contagion before it infects everyone.

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        Anna Chui

        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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        Published on November 16, 2018

        Learn the Different Types of Love (and Better Understand Your Partner)

        Learn the Different Types of Love (and Better Understand Your Partner)

        Love. Ahhhhh… they say it makes the world go ‘round. But does it? Does it always make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Or does it sometimes cause us problems in our relationships?

        Well, the answer is both.

        We have all had our share of relationship problems – especially in romantic ones. And when people say to me, “Relationships are hard!” I always reply, “Not they’re not. They are not inherently hard. It’s the people that make them hard.

        What I mean by that is that humans are inherently selfish. We all want to “win” and to get other people to understand what we want. And unfortunately, that often results in two people who just don’t understand each other. And because of that, their relationship suffers.

        One key to healthy relationships is understanding the different types of love. Everyone gives and receives love differently. And in addition to that, some people are much more capable of experiencing certain types of love than others.

        8 Types of Love According to the Ancient Greeks

        The ancient Greeks studied love and classified them into eight different types. They studied everything from public speaking to the starts in the universe. And love is something they were also fascinated with.

        So, let’s take a look at the different types of love so you can better understand your own relationships.

        1. Agape — Unconditional Love

        First, we have agape love. This is an altruistic, selfless, unconditional love. The Greeks thought it was quite radical, perhaps because so few people seem capable of feeling it long-term.

        Some people would describe agape as a type of spiritual love. For instance, Christians believe that Jesus exhibited this kind of love for all humans. He was selfless and sacrificed Himself so that others could be rid of their sins. He suffered for the happiness of others.

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        2. Eros — Romanic Love

        Eros is named after the Greek god of love and fertility. Therefore, it is usually associated with romantic, passionate, and physical love. It is an expression of sexual passion and desire.

        The Greeks were actually quite fearful of this love, strangely enough. They thought that because human beings have an instinctual impulse to procreate, that this love was so powerful and it would result in a loss of control.

        Although the Greeks thought this kind of love was dangerous, it is still the kind of love that is associated with passionate, sexual love. Even in modern days, some people believe that this kind of love “burns hot and bright, but it burns out fast.”

        3. Philia — Affectionate Love

        The Greeks defined this kind of love as “affectionate love.” In other words, it is the kind of love that you feel for your friends.

        Ironically, the ancient Greeks thought this kind of love was better than eros (sexual love), because it represented love between people who considered themselves equals.

        While a lot of people associate the word “love” with romance, Plato always argued that physical attraction wasn’t necessary for love. Hence, why there are many different types of love. This type, in particular, is often referred to as “platonic” love – love without sexual acts.

        4. Philautia — Self-love

        Philautia is self-love. In our modern day society, most people associate self-love with being narcissistic, selfish, or stuck on themselves. However, this is not what the ancient Greeks meant by self-love.

        Self-love is not negative or unhealthy in any way. In fact, it’s necessary to be able to give and receive love from other people. We cannot give to others what we don’t have. And if we don’t love ourselves, how can we truly love others?

        Another way to look at self-love is by thinking about it as self-compassion. Just as you might show affection and love to another person, you must also show that same affection and love to yourself.

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        5. Storge — Familiar Love

        Storge can be defined as “familiar love.” Although that’s a strange term, let me explain what it really means.

        This type of love looks and feels a lot like philia – affectionate love felt between friends. However, this love is more like a parent-child love.

        Just like philia, there is not physical or sexual attraction. But there is a strong bond, kinship, and familiarity between people.

        6. Pragma — Enduring Love

        The ancient Greeks define pragma as “enduring love.” In other words, it’s almost the opposite of eros (sexual love). Eros tends to burn out quickly because of its passion and intensity. However, pragma is a love that has matured and developed over a long period of time.

        The kind of old married couples who have been together since their teenage years and still hold hands, well, that’s a great example of pragma. Unfortunately, this kind of love is somewhat rare to find – especially in society today. These days, people seem to think the grass is always greener on the other side. And therefore, they don’t have the patience or desire to watch love grow over time.

        This type of love doesn’t require a lot of effort in a relationship. Both people are good at making compromises, and each of them puts in equal efforts to make the other person happy.

        7. Ludus — Playful Love

        Ludus is known as the “playful love.” However, a better way to describe it is the feeling of infatuation in the early days of romance. If you’ve been in love before, you know what I’m talking about.

        It’s the butterflies in your stomach, the giddiness you feel when you see your love walk through the door, and the feeling of never wanting to be without them.

        Studies show that when people are experiencing this type of love, their brain is acting much like it does if it was on cocaine. In other words, your brain is lit up and active just like someone who is literally high on a drug. It makes you feel alive and excited about life.

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        8. Mania — Obsessive Love

        Mania is not necessarily a good type of love, because it is obsessive. It’s the type of love that can lead someone into madness, jealousy, or even anger. That is because the balance between eros (sexual) and ludus (playful) is terribly off.

        Many people who experience this type of love suffer from low self-esteem. They fear losing the object of their love, and this fear compels them to say or do some “crazy” things in order to keep them.

        If not kept under control, mania can be very destructive in some cases.

        The 5 Love Languages

        The ancient Greeks weren’t the only ones to study love. A modern relationship therapist, Dr. Gary Chapman, identified five languages of love through his work with couples over a long period of time. His book, The Five Love Languages, provides a lot more detail.

        In a nutshell, Chapman argues that each of us give and receive love differently, but they all fall into five categories. And they are as follows:

        1. Words of Affirmation

        Some people want to hear “I love you” or other positive compliments from their partner. And if they don’t hear it, then they might feel unloved.

        2. Acts of Service

        Doing nice things for other people is called an “act of service.” Whether it’s changing someone’s oil, cleaning the house, or giving a back rub, doing things to help make the other person happy is what this one is about.

        3. Receiving Gifts

        Some people value giving and receiving gifts, and some do not. So, if you measure your partner’s love by how many gifts you are given, then your love language is “receiving gifts.”

        4. Quality Time

        Other people measure the quality of their love by how much time their significant other wants to spend with them. If they don’t get enough “together time,” then they might feel unloved.

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        5. Physical Touch

        Finally, some individuals associate love with physical touch. Anything from hand-holding to cuddling, and even sex count as “physical touch.”

        Why Do Love Languages Matter?

        The point of learning the love languages is to identify both the way you give and want to receive love from your partner. If you both have very different love languages, it can cause problems in your relationship.

        For example, let’s say that you give love by saying “I love you” all the time, but you want to receive gifts in order to feel loved. But your partner shows his/her love with acts of service, and he/she wants to feel it with quality time. See the problem? They don’t match up.

        But don’t worry. You and your partner don’t need to speak the same love language to stay together. Here’s why.

        All you need to do is discuss it with your partner. Once you understand how you both want to give and receive, then it’s not so difficult.

        The Takeaway

        We’re all different – and that’s okay. The problems we have in relationships sometimes simply come from not understanding each other fully, especially in the area of love.

        Now that you know the ancient Greek types of love, and the more modern love languages, hopefully you can take a good, hard, long look at your own relationships and make the necessary improvements.

        Featured photo credit: Joanna Nix via unsplash.com

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