How to Better Handle Office Politics
As much as we would like to guarantee a workplace devoid of the kind of office politics that can threaten your success, in all good conscience we can’t. Even the best work environments will at some time experience the toxicity that comes with office politics in its various forms – favoritism, gossip, secrecy, underhandedness. What you need is a strategy to manage office politics when it rears its ugly head so your success is not undermined by it.
A 5-Step Strategy to Better Handle Office Politics
1. Recognize and Analyze Office Politics
You first need to determine if the office politics are a new phenomenon or if it has been festering for a long while. In addition, you should decide if the source of the problem will disappear on its own soon or if the project, person, team, or policy with which the politics is associated is bound to continue. If the situation is short-lived, stay the course but try to learn from it so you can avoid it the next time. If the problem is likely to continue, i.e., a toxic boss, you may need to plan an exit.
2. Reduce the Emotions
Take a deep breath and calm your emotions. You gain little by taking it personally, reacting in anger or being visibly upset. Your goal is to survive the harmful workplace politics in a way that shows your maturity, your dedication, and your ability to overcome adversity. So you need to disengage from the way you feel and adopt an objective attitude from which you can operate and learn.
3. Don’t Share and Whine
It’s tempting to commiserate with other team members but resist the temptation. Otherwise you add to the fray with your own kind of gossip. You really should avoid taking sides if you hope to emerge on top.
4. Find a Trusted Advisor
Is there one person you can talk to who can give you some helpful feedback? Be ready and open to receive feedback you may find uncomfortable. After all, your perspective may not be shared by others. A good way to start would be to simply state the facts and ask what your trusted advisor might do in a similar situation.
5. Keep Your Head Down
Don’t be the one who gets so involved in the drama that you neglect your work. Your job is to continue doing your job. When all this is over, be the person who continued to contribute and support the team as a whole. Your hard work in spite of the “troubles” will not go unnoticed.
The Bottom Line
Office politics is inevitable. Might it threaten your success? Have a proven strategy to deal with it effectively. You need to better handle office politics.
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