Nobody likes to deal with office politics, but unfortunately, it is a common thing in the workplace. I’ve been in situations where I didn’t want to be part of the office politics. However, in reality, you are involved, whether you like it or not. In order to survive, you must learn how to navigate so that you can remain neutral and take the high road. Learning how to thrive in office politics is actually a skill. So instead of wishing it would go away, level up, rise above it, and don’t let it affect you or your work. Learn how to play the game with these five tips and tricks.
When you enter a new environment, it’s best to learn the lay of the land. Figure out exactly what is going on. Every office environment is full of allies and rivals. So if you watch and listen closely, you will figure out who is aligned with whom. It’s super important to study the political landscape, understanding the players and their strategies before you make any judgments. You can pay attention to who has lunch together, who is the leader of the pack, who is respected, who are the real influencers, and who champions or mentors others, etc. Once you understand the rules and the players and their strategies, you can then examine whether connections are based on friendship, respect, romance, or something else.
2. Don’t take things personally
At the end of the day, know what you are trying to achieve. Remind yourself that your participation in office politics is purely for career success and job fulfillment . Sometimes, there are issues we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to be victim to pettiness, exclusion, boss mandates, etc. So instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation – your circle of influence. Do your best within the given circumstances and never let your emotions get the most of you in front of your colleagues. Thinking win-win and letting karma take care of the weeds is an enduring strategy that builds allies and helps you win in the long term.
3. Never Gossip
The worst scenario is to pass on rumors without taking time to carefully consider their source, credibility, and impact. It’s important to remain professional at all times and remain neutral. And when there is gossip going around whether about you or someone else, the best way to respond is to stay positive. Answer the bad with the good. Whenever gossips say something negative about someone, say something positive. It’s much easier to eat the humble pie and back off than fight and try to win. Remember: “rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots.”
4. Be Tactful
Learn to listen carefully because when you invest time in listening, you’ll slow down, focus, and learn. And, people like people who listen to them. When conflict arises, make sure you are confident and assertive, but not aggressive. The best way to think of this is to keep your poker face on at all times and keep a level head. Show your peers and managers with body language and communication skills that you are cool, collected, and focused at all times. Never try to one up anyone; by continuing to impress your boss and deftly neutralize the competition (those who know you’re playing the game), you will be able to build your influence within the company. This concept also goes for not taking sides: by not taking sides, you’ll build trust with both parties and help direct conflict resolution in an objective manner.
5. Function as a Team Player
Surviving and thriving in the corporate environment is not only about doing your job (while that is of course important). You need allies, and how team members feel about one another will dictate your success in the workplace. You can make alliances by doing favors for people, being strategic, and getting to know people so you can help them. Treat your co-workers with respect. It goes back to the Golden Rule. Always try to extend a helping hand. Office politics is very common, so remember this: it’s a lot better to be a competent, conscious player than to be a pawn in the game.
The key is to understand the players and the rules, and then play the game in a way that aligns with your personal values and principles. As long as you don’t compromise yourself, you’re in a good position. Hope you enjoyed this blog on how to beat office politics.