How to Know It is Corporate Politics

At some point in your rising career, you will encounter corporate politics. It doesn’t matter what size the company is – it may be a family owned business or small company, the signs are the same.

istock_000001275566xsmallHow you find out may be through careful observation or perhaps experience when you find yourself in the middle of a mess. The better you prepare yourself for recognizing the signs before you get caught up in the situation, the easier it will be for you to figure out a way through it.

Here are some signs that tell you corporate politics is alive at your workplace:

  • You are surprised at decisions being made without your consultation.
  • You are not being included in communication (email or meetings) in pre-planning stages.
  • After a decision is made, subsequent meetings are held to vet out concerns and you are not invited.
  • Peers withhold information or resources that affect your effectiveness and success.
  • Communication with peers is not balanced. You hear more negative comments than positive encouragement.
  • You see a noticeable decline in meeting requests with your staff, peers or boss.

There are many more subtle and obvious signs of corporate politics. The signs I identified are the ones that become visible at first. If not addressed quickly, the organization, your peers, staff and boss will lose confidence in your ability to lead with strength.

Corporate politics essentially are power plays at work.

The way you handle the corporate politics will set a tone for everyone in the organization on how you want to be treated. It is important to not overplay your hand with emotion and not seem wimpy at the same time by letting things continue. It’s a delicate balance.

  1. My husband’s situation is a little unusual. My husband had already left his job when after 2 weeks trying to get his last check was told he would have to sign a paper to get his check!!
    From the beginning. My husband work for a maintenance & Remodel company for 5 years. He was the job foreman. Part of his responsibility was purchasing item needed for the job with company business cards. Never a problem.
    My husband’s employer was going out of the country for 3 weeks and right before he left my husband was offered another job. They wanted him to start immediately! My husband was excited about working for himself again but told this company/person that he had to wait until his employer returned back and even then it would only be right to give him notice. The kind of work he was in was mostly seasonal and if he would not start immediately they wouldn’t have anything else for him to about springtime. But my husband stayed on his job. We always knew this day was coming. More and more this employer/company kept telling my husband they didn’t have any money, they had to borrow money from family. Matter of fact many times my husband went to use the gas credit card it was declined and my husband would have to wait for the employer to come there with another card so he could fill up and get to work. So timing wise he knew it was time to go.
    Everyone who knew my husband and this employer knew the employer would not take this well because the employer had a lot of work coming up he would need my husband to do them.
    So 3 weeks later employer returned and he had my husband and work truck at his home for several hours doing the usual annual inventory on his work truck it was then my husband told him he was leaving and before he told him he would stay for 2 weeks the employer said OK. He asked if he would work the rest of the week and he said OK. I guess the employer had time to think this out because it turns out he was NOT OK!! About 3 days later he tells my husband to return his truck to his home and leave the keys in it!! Then he texted him telling him not to contact him or anyone in his company and if he needed to contact him to contact his attorney instead!!
    He told him that he has not going to pay him! He said because of damages to the work truck. This employer was referring to the time lumber slide off of the truck. This was all bull because this had happen 7 months earlier and he never had a problem with it until it was time to pay him! Matter of fact he had my husband at his house for several hours doing the inventory and never even say a word about this until it was time to pay him!
    Employer finally stopped using the truck for a crutch for not paying him but he still wasn’t going to pay. We contacted the Labor Board and we don’t know what or if they did anything.
    Then the day before we were to go to see an attorney the employer said if my husband wanted his check to meet him in a parking lot. When my husband got there he told him he would have to sign a paper first! He told him that it was to verify he was getting the correct amount due minus the money for parts to repair my husband’s work utility trailer. My husband used his own utility trailer to do work for this company. The trailer got damages while working on employer’s job site. Employer told my husband (and I heard him say) to go to parts place and buy what he needed to fix his trailer and that he was paying!!! Now he stands in the parking lot and tells my husband he has docked his check for this amount. After waiting this long for his pay he said OK. He just want his pay and thought he would just take that 128. As a loss.
    Then he gets home and I look at this paper!!! It said on the paper my husband used the employers debit card without permission for his own personal use!!! I was sooo mad at my husband!!! He was shocked when he read what he signed!!
    This guy is just dirty! We have reason to believe he has done something to this with past employees to get out of paying them. I don’t believe it was written by his attorney either as he said because it didn’t look professional and it was written on employers own letterhead!
    So what can we do now? Was this legal? We can’t drop this as long as that paper is in his possession but we can afford to hire a lawyer either. After my husband took so long taking that job offer there is really know more work for him till closer too spring. Matter of fact my husband had been working with friends just to make a little money here and there.
    If you could PLEASE give us some advice on how to handle this. If we need to hire an attorney which type should we contact?

    • Jackie, Your situation is very complicated and I do not give out specific advice on here – only with my clients where we spend a lot of time going over the details. However, that being said, I will comment on a few things that I try to emphasize all the time. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING you have NOT READ and AGREE TO. At this point, to get get corrected you will have to engage an attorney and fast to null this agreement because this guy is not gong to do the right thing. He most likely did this to avoid paying any type of unemployment.

      People whose businesses are in trouble financially (and the signs were all there) often try to recoup whatever they can from someone going out the door. Your only other alternative is to forget about it and move on. Most likely the community knows how he operates and it sounds like your husband can get plenty of other work related recommendations.

      • Also my husband was allowed to use their charge cards for 5 years at his discretion and that there was no illegal conduct on my behalf for doing so because they were aware and allowed him to do so by not stopping it before. Anyone who knows my husband knows he would not intentionally break the law and would never would “knowingly” sign a paper that stated he did.