Although office politics is typically viewed negatively and many people avoid it, it's a reality that cannot be completely avoided. Nowadays, it is often referred to as networking, pitching ideas, improving stakeholder relationships, etc. Therefore, it is recommended that you acknowledge and learn to navigate and manage office politics instead of denying or disassociating from it. This article explores various professional methods to deal with office politics i.e., controlling, navigating, and overcoming it. Here is what you should do.
1. Upskill yourself:
When we realize that we lack the skills or abilities necessary to complete tasks and that our competitors are more proficient than us, it's common to resort to other means, whether fair or unfair, to gain an advantage. However, it's important to take a step back and evaluate our abilities and identify areas where we need improvement. By upskilling and expanding our knowledge base, we can avoid the need for negative politics and enhance our ability to compete fairly.
2. Focus on your goals:
No matter what’s happening around you, focus on achieving your business goals. It will help you be productive and prove that you are an asset.
3. Build your brand:
Earn the trust of your co-workers and superiors. Your reputation should be such that even the people who have never met you think highly of you. People will only support you if they believe you are competent, fair, and transparent. No one will be able to influence others against you.
4. Get to know the people:
You should know who's who at work and vice versa. There is always an informal network of people with more power and influence than others. Knowing them personally will provide you with much-needed exposure. They could be at various levels in the workplace. Discover who they are.
It's sometimes beneficial to chat, call, or meet virtually without an agenda. It demonstrates that you care and have good intentions. You must communicate with co-workers and stakeholders to let them know you exist and what you do for the company. If you don't, others will do it for themselves, increasing their chances of success. Maintain relationships with people at all levels of the organization. This will help you be informed about what’s happening in the workplace. Avoid being too predictable and imposing phony friendships though.
6. Focus on inclusion and collaboration:
Share your ideas, solicit others' feedback, and listen to them to understand where they are coming from. Appreciate success and provide constructive feedback when necessary. Create an environment where everyone feels valued and supported. This will leave fewer grounds for politics.
7. Use your power or influence with caution:
It's important to be mindful of when and how to utilize your power and influence. If you constantly rely on them, it can create the impression that you don't value the opinions of others and always seek to dominate. This can make people reluctant to work with you.
8. Avoid taking sides:
There are times when we must pick a side. Concentrate on the business goals rather than the individuals involved in the squabble and express your thoughts. Always act in the best interests of the company. As a result, you will be able to resolve conflicts without becoming involved in politics. People respect your opinions and decisions when they know that you prioritize business over personal gain. The stakeholders will then recognize you as mature and business-focused, and you will be given more responsibilities.
9. Do not manipulate:
Using manipulation tactics is a fast way to lose the respect of others. While it may produce quick results that you wouldn't achieve otherwise, people will soon realize what's happening and lose respect for you. Regaining their trust can be very difficult once it's been lost.
10. Avoid gossip:
It's best to avoid discussing internal company matters with others outside of work. It's also important to avoid speaking negatively about company stakeholders. Instead, wait for an appropriate time to discuss any issues or concerns you may have regarding the workplace or stakeholders. If you need to address a problem, do so professionally by offering constructive criticism and suggesting potential solutions rather than solely pointing out faults or problems.
11. Don’t Get Personal:
When navigating office politics, it's important to refrain from retaliating or seeking revenge against those who engage in manipulative behaviors. People tend to remember insults and humiliation, and you never know when you may need them in the future since you work in the same place. To achieve success in such an environment, focus on building a network of supportive colleagues whom you can rely on. This will help ensure that you're protected in times of crisis or when new opportunities arise, as you won't have to worry about being sabotaged by those around you.
12. You have the choice to leave:
You may be working in a toxic workplace that doesn't prioritize fairness and respect for employees. The level of office politics may have reached a point where it's difficult to manage. In such situations, it's important to remember that you have a choice to leave with dignity, rather than wait until it affects your mental well-being. It's better to channel your energy towards learning, innovating, and growing rather than dealing with a toxic work environment.
In conclusion, office politics is an inescapable aspect of any workplace, and it is important to develop skills and strategies for navigating and managing it effectively. By considering all the points mentioned above, you can better position yourself within the organization and achieve your career goals. It is essential to remember that office politics can be a double-edged sword and must be approached with care and sensitivity to avoid potential negative consequences. With the right mindset and approach, however, office politics can be a valuable tool for advancing your career and achieving success in the workplace.