Office politics are tactics used by colleagues to gain an advantage at the expense of others. This adversely affects the work environment and relationships among staff members. On the other hand, politics can be good when it involves promoting yourself through networking. Bad politics is not healthy. Many avoid office politics. The truth is, to be successful and to enjoy the work environment; you must learn how to navigate the minefield of office politics. Politics is all about human communication and relationships. There are those who benefit from bad and good politics.
Why is work politics unavoidable?
• Some employees have more power and influence than others. The influence can be through hierarchy levels or power.
• Competition is healthy. At places of work, many want promotion thus competition between individuals.
• There are limited resources, and everyone is competing for it.
To be a top performer, you must learn the art of winning and how to deal with office politics. Below are 5 tips to help you deal with politics at workplace.
1. You have an option
We were taught when you are in an intense situation fight or take flight. Choosing a fight or flight is a typical human reaction. Fighting in the office causes more resistance and flight will label you as a weaker person who can be taken advantage of quickly. The two options are not the best for a working environment. You have to choose how you feel and act in response to situations. So how do you choose? The answer is on the next point.
2. What do you want to achieve?
Politics at work can result in a self-defeat. We tend to focus on individual differences which result in more resistance. The solution is to ask yourself what the business objective is? What is the best option? Look at the pros and cons of each proposal. Dialogue discourages petty differences and encourages real conversation that steers ahead a company. Be a person who is mature, strategic thinker and what are things done.
3. Influence a situation
Complaining and bitching around is a common outcome of work politics. Be a person of courage and understanding. Ask yourself how I can change a situation? You can identify your colleagues whom you can share the situation and get advice on the situation. From your circle, you can get those who can influence the constraints to the situation. This approach will help avoid victimisation and instead you will be seen as a wise person.
4. Never take sides
Office politics allows one to take sides when there is a disagreement between two parties well known to you. Taking sides in a conflict is not a wise move. The best approach is to have a common communication platform. Allow open communication to all the parties for transparency purposes. Focus on the business objective as your dialogue. Your position is to act as a conflict resolution analyst.
5. Don’t get personal
It is natural to get angry and take personal grudges. The human mind tends to remember humiliating incidences more times than good someone did. To win an office conflict build a network of allies who will steer you up. You can hinder your career advancement due to a temper outburst which could have been avoided. Try and handle conflict situation professionally and maturely.
Politics at work are a fact of life. Handling politics wisely will help get you in the workplace easily and promote your career goals. Use the power of work politics positively.