Envision High School Musical, but in a workplace setting, minus the song and dance portions.
Defined as “a small group of people who spend time together and who are not friendly to other people”, cliques have long been part of the status quo since our elementary school days, most especially our high school and college years. As much as we believe it has become a thing of the past, old habits really do die hard.
We all want to belong and get along. Even as adults.
Typical cliques in the office that everyone can attest to being existent include the ever resistant to change “traditional seniors” – who were probably already an employee even before you learned your ABCs. These are the people who you respect, but don’t exactly like either. It must be the generation gap.
The idea of forming and taking part in a clique goes hand in hand with the saying “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” Whatever the cliques are based on, they have proven to be both beneficial and risky in more ways than one. But just like high school, being part of a clique will either lead you to greatness or to your downfall. So choose well.
Only 11% say they feel intimidated by cliques at work.
Existing cliques make it easier to discover and meet people who have the same interests as you. It allows for the cultivation of positive relationships among employees. Shared workspaces and personalities help in the development of a (hopefully) positive bond, which leads to admirable performance in the office.
Work won’t feel like a burden. Having people in the company to socialize with gives off the impression that a brighter workday ahead awaits you.
For bosses on the other hand, cliques provide an overview of the types of employees you have. It becomes easier to categorize and distinguish them by personalities and associate them by their accomplishments as a group. Singling out unconstructive individuals within factions also becomes an easier task when the time to weed out toxicity in the workplace comes.
About 13% of workers said the presence of office cliques has had a negative effect on their career development
Cliques often give out the negative impression at first, especially to the people higher up in the hierarchy. It is a struggle for new employees to belong. Before choosing to associate yourself with a particular group of people, ask yourself whether being part of the group will challenge and give you room to grow, or limit your abilities. Avoid individuals who are avid gossipers. Chances are they’re part of a clique that thrives on rumors as well.
“It’s easy to get labeled as part of ‘that group’ and then it becomes part of your identity,” Amy Hoover, president of Talent Zoo says. “This can be important when upper management may not be able to spend enough time with staffers and get to know them well, and sometimes who you associate with is who you become to a boss or manager.”
Clique VS Team
In a small company, the team itself can be one clique. The term “team” refers to a group of people linked towards achieving a common goal.
It is presumed that by being in a clique, a sense of closeness is currently present. Tie it in with the proximity, positivity and productivity within the team, and you have yourself a win-win situation.
Take a group of 25 staff for example, it doesn’t give much room for isolation, everyone knows each other and there is almost little to zero alienation. A perfect model of a clique and team in one.
Within a bigger corporation, on the other hand, the possibility of cliques emerging is greater. However, the diversity of cliques within a team may prove to be an asset to the company, resulting in a wider yield, added efficiency and extra profit.
From the point of view of managers, cliques are typically discouraged, but for employees, it’s usually what makes settling in easier. The forming of cliques is not necessarily banned; employees just need to veer away from forming harmful groups, or totally isolating others.
Finding a common ground to make both ends meet may be the best solution.
Office politics are unavoidable and, whether you like it or not, is part of the playing field in the corporate world.Just remember that your purpose in the company is to work, not to join a clique or simply socialize.
Play it safe by treading lightly. Try to be a part of more than one clique. OR choose to walk your own path while fraternizing as you go. You can have friends without joining a clique. Give yourself the assurance that you can be a part of something while also steering clear of danger – don’t allow yourself to be dragged down along with others.
Work should feel fun, interesting and gratifying. If you feel like you constantly have to work at trying to fit in out of peer pressure, maybe you’re meant to stand out somewhere else. Choose a company that polishes you, not one that dulls your shine.