Dealing with office politics can be very annoying, especially if you’re a target. Nonetheless, you can survive if you remain competent at all times. Before starting our discussion about the main topic which is how to deal with office politics, let me clarify what office politics is and the types of office politicians.
What is office politics?
Office politics or politicking is the phenomenon of power dynamics among employees. People pull these power dynamics to further their interests or that of a community they affiliate with. Such behavior in office is inevitable, as human beings are naturally political and will do politics to secure their agenda.
Types of office politics
Gossiping and spreading rumors, gaining favor by flattering the boss, taking credit from others, and sabotaging coworkers are the most popular forms of office politicking.
Office politics can be positive or negative:
If employees perform good deeds and positively influence others to build interpersonal employee relations and improve efficiency and conduct can elicit positive change in the office environment. While negative politicking behaviors create anxiety, inhibit employees’ ability to perform well, and are destructive to morale.
What are the effects of office politics on the organization?
When negative office politics ooze in the workplace, your organization suffers. It divides colleagues, managers, and associates, which creates a tense and disruptive work environment. If left unresolved can damage a company’s reputation.
Types of office politicians
These personalities work in an office setting to gain personal interest.
This person knows what’s happening in the office and is not afraid to share details.
This person will do anything to become the boss’s favorite, even if that means taking credit for others’ ideas.
This person likes to compliment left and right, making it very difficult to determine whether they are genuine or trying to persuade people.
This person works only for himself, openly criticizes others, and does not hesitate to throw colleagues under the bus. He also rarely takes responsibility for his mistakes.
This person fights hard and has a reputation for swaying opinions in their favor.
They are often the people company leaders confide in and ask for help. To deal with office politics, befriend the advisor as they know a lot about what’s happening in the company and have a lot of influence behind the scenes.
How to deal with office politics? Top Solutions.
To help employees to steer their way through an office political terrain, here are tips on how to handle them.
React calmly to anything stimulating:
It’s normal to feel angry and defensive when someone threatens your livelihood. Still, it’s vital to remain calm and professional. If something upsets you, take a few minutes to relax, take a deep breath, and react calmly. No doubt, it’s a great way to deal with office politics.
Understand others to improve the situation:
You may think your coworker is acting politically, but possibly he does not realize that his behavior is problematic. Look at the issue from your colleague’s perspective, and see if there’s a reason behind his behavior. Then look for changes you can make to improve the situation.
Stick to your values:
When dealing with office politics, you may sense the need to creep in to gain the upper hand. But this will make you feel bad and will not lead you to success. Rather, think about your values and make the right decisions for yourself.
Build a positive support network at the office:
Another way to deal with office politics is to get to know your colleagues and build professional relationships. Try to have at least 2-3 work friends. Work can be stressful, but it helps to have friends who make it easier. Remember to always be professional with your friends at work. Otherwise, your personal and professional life could get mixed up, fueling office politics.
Avoid expressing your feelings to coworkers:
Work friends seem like best friends because they know everything about your workplace. However, sharing work-related frustrations with your colleagues is like giving them a bullet against you. Instead, talk to a friend or relative and request them to keep your views personal.
Manage your stress at work:
Work stress is a part of life, but it should not swamp work. Take care of yourself by making stress management part of your routine. Identify stress-reducing activities that work for you and add them to your daily routine.
Strictly follow the rules:
Know your office policies and always follow them. If you make a mistake, report it to your manager and fix the error immediately. It shows you are open, honest, and want to do the right thing. It also eliminates the risk of employees using your actions against you.
Keep it professional:
Gossiping about your colleagues or revealing too much about your personal life is not professional behavior. To have fun at an office event is fine but be careful not to cross the line. Your boss is always watching you, so avoid anything that you will not wish to discuss in your work performance evaluation.
Focus on the positive aspects of your workplace:
We all have problems at work. However, a bad attitude makes you easy prey and damages your prominence. Instead of complaining about your job, your boss, or your colleague, focus on the positive aspects of your position. If you hate your job, start searching for a new one.
Be helpful to your office colleagues:
To deal with office politics, share your knowledge and skills with those who need them. Also, offer to help a colleague if he needs help. It may prevent misunderstandings in political office situations.
Celebrate success as a team player:
Giving yourself credit can help you move forward, but it can also make you a target for office politics. Instead, celebrate team achievement to show that you are a team player. It will make your colleagues respect you and prove that you care about them.
Improve your social skills:
Social skills or interpersonal skills are what we all use to interact and communicate with other people. They are essential to avoid office politics.
Do spend more time with people in your free time to practice your social skills. At work, make eye contact and show interest in your coworkers, and listen to what they say. It’s a friendly way to deal with politicking.
Engage with the person who is dishonest in their doings:
Spending time with the troublemakers of office politics can give you a better understanding of their motivations. Spare no effort to stay on their good side. Additionally, use your inside knowledge to avoid work drama. They can use your words against you, so be careful what you say in front of them.
Connect with influential people at the office:
Pay attention to those who seem to have authority in your office. Then, build a relationship with those who have influence. It helps you to deal with office politics sensibly.
Listen more, speak less:
Listening to what others say can be more empowering than you think. This way, you can catch what people are doing and what rumors are circulating. Also, talking less reduces the risk of over-sharing. In the office, listen more than you speak.
Don’t spread rumors to gear up your career:
Spreading rumors is a professional way to help your career. It seems to work for others but is a dirty ball that will bounce back to you. So, avoid putting your coworkers down. It can destroy your reputation as well.
Keep records of your work progress and communications:
If you do find yourself a target of office politics, good documentation can help you protect yourself. Save your email communications and meeting minutes, and keep records of the task you provide to group projects. Organize your documentation so that it’s easy to access.
Keep accurate records of your work progress:
If you do find yourself a target of office politics, keep accurate records of your work to avoid many problems in the long run. Organizations use project management software to keep track of the activities of employees but don’t always capture day-to-day activities. Save your email communications and discussion minutes, and keep records of the work you participate in group projects. It will help you to resist office politicians.
Develop new skills:
Developing new skills is a good idea that always works. A highly skilled employee is respected and less likely to fall victim to office politics. As a skilled worker, you can find solutions to difficult situations better than others in the office.
Everyone comes to the table with their intentions, egos, and agendas, and for someone to get what they want, there will always be some level of compromise, negotiation, and politicking. So, try to be honest, friendly, and helpful to coworkers. Avoid negativity in words and work. Listen to others and calmly deal with office politics.
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