Can Worrying About Office Politics Make You a Target?

Can Worrying About Office Politics Make You a Target?

Research shows it can, but sometimes a bit of anxiety is a good thing.

Like any recurring social gathering, the workplace has its own set of politics. If you’re new to the joint, or simply feel your views don’t fit in, you might worry about becoming the target of useless gossip and negative strategizing. It happens.

Research shows that, sometimes, it’s better to toss that anxiety aside, however. Simply carry on.

A study done in 2012 at the University of British Columbia found those who were paranoid about office politics actually did become victims of it. Those concerned about negative personal gossip circulating in the workplace or being “snubbed”, ended up leading themselves down the wrong path.

Essentially, if you fear you’re a target, researchers found that you’re more likely to seek out information that confirms those feelings.

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This can ultimately annoy colleagues. In this way, it inadvertently increases the likelihood that you actually WILL be rejected or subverted.

But sometimes a bit of anxiety isn’t all bad. Conversely, a study done at the University of Toronto found those who experience it can become better employees. It’s all about balance.

“If you have too much anxiety, and you’re completely consumed by it, then it’s going to derail your performance,” said the study’s co-author Julie McCarthy from the Department of Management at U of T Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management.

“On the other hand, moderate levels of anxiety can facilitate and drive performance,” she added.

So, find your sweet spot. Stay positive and focused on your goal. You increase your chances of reaping the benefits.

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