Office politics arise when these variations of personality and opinion become stimulating to manage. All workplaces are political simply because people bring their emotions, obligations, ambitions, and vulnerabilities into their professional careers.
Of course, we all want to be successful, but we don’t forever agree about what this means or how to understand it.
And we often care deeply about the judgments that we make or that others make about us, so we seek to inspire people’s choices. Again, we can be straightforward or underhand about this. Finally, companies have limited resources. It can lead to teams competing to satisfy their own needs and goals, even when this may go against the “greater good.”
You can go for the introspection on your own through the following steps.
- Quiet time. The most effective way to avoid office politics is to say as little as possible when these situations arise. It is especially true if you’re fresh. You have no concept of the history among various people and what the “real” transcription is. Did they get passed over because their manager prefers Yankees fans? Maybe, maybe not. No need to opine at all.
- Identify and isolate. It’s pretty easy to see who is encouraging the politics. They’re usually ascertaining ways to use a genuine work conversation into an excuse to give tangential information. For example, if you begin talking about the resources, the conversation goes indirectly into how someone used their capital budget and which colleagues they take to lunch – watch out. To the degree you can, try to keep conversations with manipulative co-workers like that as businesslike as possible. Can you email instead of having live discussions?
- Trigger words. There are constantly subjects that are simply more sensitive. Perhaps it’s the new boss, who got promoted, or who has the most exciting work. Or it can be past issues linked to an incident or a person. It’s best to conclude which topics are hot switch items, where even a reasonably innocent comment is subject to scrutiny.
Most important is which of those topics influence your manager and other decision-makers. If you must discuss these matters, make a point of speaking to your manager privately, directly, and preferably live. If you see the conversation is being poorly received, you want to have a chance to avoid office politics by making it clear your question is not a loaded one.
Let’s examine why workplace politics exist and look at few ways to “win” at office politics without sinking to the lowest standards of behavior.
Survival Tips for Office Politics
The foundation for making politics positively work for you is to accept it as a certainty. It may improve over time, as people come and work in your organization, but, chances are, it will never fade entirely. Then, you need to improve strategies to identify and follow political behavior and create a solid and supportive network. The following suggestions can support you to do this:
- Investigate the Organization Chart: Office politics usually bypass the formal organizational arrangement. So, sit back, observe for a while, and then map your organization’s political leadership and influence, rather than people’s rank or job title.
- Follow the Informal Network: Watch exactly (but discreetly and courteously) to find out who goes along with who and who discovers it more challenging to communicate with others. Look for out-groups, in-groups, or cliques. Notice whether attachments are based on respect, friendship, passion, or something else.
- Build Connections: Don’t be afraid of politically influential people. Instead, please get to understand them and develop high-quality bonds that shun empty flattery. Be generous with everyone, but withdraw aligning yourself too firmly with one group or another. And, if you’re holding a personal relationship at work, ensure to base it on approval, to withdraw any suggestion of unlawful or inappropriate influence, and never to violate confidentiality.
- Improve Your “People Skills”: Follow on your emotions, what inspires them, and how you manage them. If you can determine to self-regulate, you’ll be able to study before you commit. This sort of emotional intelligence encourages you to pick up on other people’s emotions, too, and to understand what type of approach they like or dislike. Learn to listen carefully, too. Then, when you spend time attending, you’ll slow down, center, and learn. And, people like people who attend to them!
- Get the Most of Your Network: When you talk your achievements to your connections, they might open up possibilities to “shine” for you, your crew, and your boss. They can also serve as a “bridge” between you and other associates. Exercise care when you leverage your network in this way – you don’t need to get a reputation as a “trouble!” Constantly keep your organization’s intentions in mind. It’s also essential to be accountable for your actions. It illustrates your honesty and integrity, which is a fantastic way to find out what’s most significant to the people in your network, and it determines that you appreciate their opinions.
- Be Strong – Not Naïve: Your first impulse may be to keep your distance from people who practice “bad” politics. However, the opposite can be more productive. The expression, “Keep your buddies close and your opponents closer,” often pertains to office politics. So, get to understand the gossips and handlers better. Be gracious but shielded, as they may repeat what you say with a cynical “turn.” Try to understand their intentions so that you can avoid or counter the influence of their negative politicking. And be aware that some people offend because they feel vulnerable.
- Neutralize Negative Politics: You can help make a workplace more positive by not “fuelling the fire” and joining in negative politics. Continue as a professional at all times, and don’t choose sides or get absorbed into evidence or recriminations. When a conflict begins, remember that there doesn’t have to be a conqueror and a loser. It’s often reasonable to find a solution that serves everyone.
You can’t avoid office politics all of the time, but you can reduce it. Of course, as long as humans work with other humans, people will want to use relationships and insecurities to manipulate situations. But, if you’re very aware of who is doing it and which topics are sensitive, you can stay clear of challenging situations at least most of the time.