We learn how to be political as toddlers and become experts at it by teenage years. We know how to convince mom into staying out late, and how to get dad to dig deeper into his wallet. Unfortunately, some of us take our politicking into the workplace as adults, seeking recognition, promotions, status and power etc.
With all the gossip and mind games, the work environment turns political. And many a times you become victim in spite of working honestly.
Recently one of my friends visited me and was stressed with too many things happenings around her. She was confused and was in a ‘why me’ condition. The more she tried to defend herself, the more she got trapped into it. She had become a victim of safely played office politics.
You might hate it, admire it, practice it or avoid it, office politics is a fact of life in any organization. It's something that we need to understand and master to be sure of our own success. There will be few people who will play it in a healthy way.
Office politics is simply about the differences between people at work, differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics.
There is no need to be afraid of workplace politics but just master the art of winning in office politics.
What brings into Workplace Politics?
- Those who aspire to come into limelight easily without much hard word depend on politics.
- When someone aspires to achieve something beyond their authority in a short span of time.
- Lack of supervision and control at the workplace.
- Gossips at work lead to politics.
- Arrogant superiors and lack of clear communication.
- Jealousy among colleagues.
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
― Groucho Marx
Tips and strategies to play it cool:
• Maintain your integrity - Keep your sense of honor and self respect no matter what, stay focused on career goals at all times.
• Build relationships - Work on building and maintaining interpersonal relationships with co-workers, up, down and diagonally in the corporate ladder. Work with a win- win environment.
“The only difference between Hitler and Bush is that Hitler was elected.”
• Mind workplace ethics - A healthy office supports an atmosphere that encourages information sharing and networking. Do your part to support these activities. And, remember, to express gratitude towards those who owe it.
• Avoid gossip – The grapevine will surely take it to the person being talked about. It’s best to get some right perspective before you open your mouth.
• Be aware that you have a choice to stay out of it.
• Keep things in writing, no one can deny what is written than said.
• Do not focus on immediate differences at times of conflict. Chances are you will only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.
• Do not take sides - focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them even though you like one better than the other.
• Do not get personal - There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. This might bounce back on you.
• Work on your observational and listening skills.