How to Handle Cliques in the Workplace

December 19, 2019

Have you started a new job, hoping to make new work friends, only to find out there are workplace cliques? Cliques are tight-knit groups of people who won’t let others into the “inner circle.” You might remember these from your early school days. They were the kids who kept everybody else out of their group. Unfortunately, some people carry this bad behavior into adulthood. Here’s what to do when you encounter cliques in the workplace.

Find the Odd One Out

There can’t be a clique if there aren’t people who are being excluded. As a newcomer, you won’t be the only person who’s left out, just the most recent one. You probably wouldn’t enjoy being friends with people who form cliques anyway, so why not seek out others who have been excluded from the clique? Make your new work friends the ones who have been left out and you’ll do just fine.

Ignore the Clique

The worst thing you can do is to even acknowledge that there is a clique. Pretend not to notice when they all sit together and refuse to let others join them at the table in the office kitchen. The more you pay attention to the clique, the more “power” they have. Just ignore them as much as possible and continue about your workday.

Take it up With Management Only if it Affects Your Work

Whatever you do, don’t complain to management about the clique. Even though it’s not the most ideal situation, unless it affects your work or it’s against company policy, it’s not an appropriate office complaint. You’ll only come across as someone who can’t handle minor social problems.

If the work clique is really making you uncomfortable or unhappy, or if they are going out of their way to make you feel bad, it’s time to move on. Life is too short to deal with petty people and childish behavior.