Almost everyone has had some experience with cliques in their past. Some people think that cliques are only a problem in high school and that they don’t exist in today’s professional settings. According to a survey done by CareerBuilder, that is just not the case. 43% of the workers surveyed acknowledge that cliques exist within their offices or work spaces. Remember, cliques are not just a group of friends that hang out at work. They are usually a group of very close friends that don’t readily allow others to join. They often lack diversity and can be mean or rude to non-members. Some clique may seem harmless at first but they can have a very damaging effect on your long term career goals.
One reason to avoid cliques is that your identity as a member of the clique can overshadow your accomplishments at work. You become labeled as a member of the group and your own identity becomes lost in the process. You will be known for your role in the clique rather than for your brilliant analytical skills or your amazing sales pitches. Cliques have a way of taking away a person’s identity and replacing it with a group image. Remember that groups don’t get promoted, individuals do. You need to stand out from the crowd if you want to advance your career.
Another reason to avoid cliques is that the members are often perceived as unfriendly and unapproachable. Most cliques spend time trash talking non-members and can make outsiders feel uncomfortable. Companies value associates that can get along with a wide range of people. They value team players and people that can bring a unique view point to a situation.
Unfortunately, workplace cliques do exist. Here are some great ways to keep the peace in your work environment.
1. Stay friendly. There is nothing wrong with saying hi, good morning, or asking how their weekend went. You don’t want to be rude or ignore them. Show your employers that you can successfully interact with anyone.
2. Don’t gossip with them. It is really easy to get caught in a moment of weakness and say something bad about a co-worker that is driving you nuts especially when everyone else in the room is saying something negative. Don’t get caught in this trap.
3. Make an effort to socialize with more than just one group of people at the office. Take the time to get to know everyone. You may be amazed at how much you like the different people in the office. This is a great way to build your network plus it shows your management team that you are able to interact with a wide range of people and that you are a team player.
4. Plan team building activities. This is a great way to encourage people to interact with different members of the organization. This not only helps break up cliques but it also builds relationships that can help drive the business forward.
Don’t let cliques in your office make you uncomfortable or hold you back from getting your dream job. Make an effort to get to know a wide range of people and value yourself on being someone that can get along with everyone.