Politics in the Office is Cancerous

By |Published On: January 14, 2013|

I recently read an interview with Dinesh Paliwal, the CEO of Harman International Industries, an audio equipment manufacturing company. (Think Harman/Kardon speakers)  A few leadership points he made were very interesting.

First, a technique he uses when hiring new employees – he takes them to dinner with their spouse and his.  In a social setting he gets to see a few key things:  1.  How the prospective employee and his spouse interact with each other; (Seeing how people treat other people when relaxed is very telling) 2.  If the prospective employee answers some of the same questions asked during their original interview the same way when answering in front of his spouse.

This is an interesting technique, I hadn’t thought of before.  You clearly can learn much about a person by seeing them in social settings (when the guard may be more readily let down).  Additionally, seeing how they answer some of your interview questions in front of their spouse (and even how their spouse adds to the answers of those questions) could be quite revealing.

Mr. Paliwal’s annoyance with office politics and the way he deals with it – head on – is also refreshing.  He recognizes politics are inevitable but they are also damaging.  So, he tells his people to “kill” politics in all instances and he doesn’t participate when tempted with gossip or office politics.  In leading this way, by example, he reduces office politics significantly and therefore, has a healthier organization.

To view the complete interview, click here.

Do you have any special techniques you use in interviews or to reduce office politics?  Feel free to share them here.

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