How to Successfully Survive and Handle Office Politics
Office politics is that nagging and pestering nuisance that you just can’t seem to rid yourself of or avoid. Whether you participate in it, instigate it or are at the receiving end of it, there’s a high chance that at some point in your career you’ve had to deal with some form of office politics. Some of you may be able to handle it well. You could be swiftly dismissive or nonchalant and that way the political views don’t bother you or get to you. Others, however, don’t handle it well. If you’re one of them, then there’s a good chance that office politics is bothering you to a point of frustration where you’re just not happy with your work and are on the verge of resigning.
Office politics can be brutal at times, particularly when you see the leadership going head-on or when your peers are ganging up against someone to a point where it’s almost bullying them. Luckily, there are alternatives and ways to deal with office politics that can help you avoid resigning. Here’s what you can do.
1. Stay True To Your Attitude
The Economic Times categorized three different office politics attitudes as Freeze, Flight or Fight. Whichever of these you decide works for you based on your personality is the one you should stick to. While freeze and flight are passive in nature, fight can work adversely for you and add on to office politics if you don’t play it out diplomatically. Confronting the chatter may be a good way to address it and put it to rest for good.
2. Stick With Your Plan
The worst way to deal with office politics is to let it get the best of you and prevent you from achieving your objectives and goals. Staying focused on the goal is imperative, irrespective of the forces out there that are trying to sabotage you or get you in trouble. It’s particularly not easy to stay on course when your team members are playing the politics game against you. They’ll hold you back and try to deviate you from your plan. The right approach is to get your head down, do what’s right and then deal with the consequences later, both the positive and negative ones.
3. Focus on Relationships
The instigators of office politics are usually those who’re full of insecurities or are intimidated by those they gossip about. It’s usually nothing more than that. There’s a good chance you’re aware of the root of all gossip and office politics. An effective way to nip gossip is to target the source. Work on forming a relationship with the office politician or even their direct reports. By building a rapport with them you’ll help them see your point of view and most likely even realize there’s much you both are commonly interested in.
4. Stay Neutral
Most office politics revolve around one group against the other. And while it may appear that each group of individuals is trying to get at the other, in reality everyone’s looking out for their own personal interest. So when you really look closely, you’ll find conflicts and differences within each group as well. That’s just how things are. This is why to make sure you’re on the right path (your own objectives) listen to everyone, all views and every opinion. By having an understanding of what everyone’s thinking you’ll be better equipped to make your own choices and hopefully make the right ones as well.
5. Remember Your Role
Whether you avoid office politics, are deep within it, or are adversely impacted by it, one thing will always remain constant – your role and duty to your organization, boss and career. Whatever the outcome of office politics may be, never forget why you’re there to begin with, You’re accountable for your actions, behaviors and discussions to your boss. However, if it’s your boss that’s at the root of office politics, then you may need an external ally to help you manage things – try your organization’s influencers or HR representatives.
Office politics, if uncontrolled, can be the wildfire that ruins people’s careers and an organization’s culture. It seriously can be dangerous if it’s not addressed or tamed. Leaders can play a pivotal role in putting out this fire, however, if they themselves are involved, then the culture will suffer greatly. Learning to successfully handle office politics isn’t a skill that you’ll learn in university – it’s one that you’ll learn on the job and in the madness of the corporate world. If you choose your allies well, be diplomatic, remain neutral and focus on your goals you’ll do just fine.
Like what you read? Subscribe to the Keijzer Community and get updates to your inbox. You’ll also get a free download which will help you take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level.