There’s not a company out there that’s completely devoid of office politics. But what comes to your mind when you hear the words “office politics”? Office politics is an evil that impacts employee’s performance. It can occur for any reason, be it money, power, status or just for greed. Politics at the workplace takes an emotional toll on everyone involved in it. It’s simply not possible to resist politics at the workplace, even though when you don’t want to get into it, you get hit directly or indirectly.
Most of the people like to ignore office politics whenever possible. Based on a survey, 20% of the crowd said that they will try to ignore it and 60% said that they will play the game reluctantly and only “when necessary.”
But if you tend to ignore office politics, consider the consequences. For example, maybe you’ve been left out by your team because you completed your task before the given or asked to cancel your presentation so that a favored employee could make the presentation. Ignoring these situations might help get you through a tough workday, but can set you back in your long-term career goals.
Types of People you should be aware of;
- People Who Don’t Reciprocate – There are people who will ask for help, advice, or ideas. They will “take,” but rarely reciprocate. Reciprocity is one of the most important components in building team unity.
- Mean People- These are the people who are very self-centered and want to grow at any cost. They project ethics, relationships, morals, and toe the company line outwardly. They are focused on advancement that they may run over you. You can identify these people very easily as they always use the first person: I, me, and mine. Look for people who say we, us, our, team, and together … not just in words but in actions.
- Trouble Makers – They are the most dangerous type of people you may come across in the corporate world. These people may attempt to put themselves ahead of you by using yours or someone else’s ideas to promote themselves.
How to Survive?
A smart way to make politics work for you in a positive way is to accept it as a reality. It may change over time, as people join and leave the organization, but, chances are, it will never disappear entirely.
Then, you need to develop strategies to understand political behavior and to build a strong and supportive network.
1. Analyze the Organization Chart – Office politics often bypass the formal organizational structure. So observe and then map the political power and influence in your organization, rather than people’s rank or job title.
2. Understand the Informal Network – Once you know where the power and influence lie,
try to decipher how influence flows between the groups or individuals, and whether there are any interpersonal conflicts, or examples of bullying.
3. Build Connections- Start to build your own social network. Don’t just get stuck with your own team rather cross the formal hierarchy in all directions – co-workers, managers and executives. Be friendly with everyone, but avoid aligning yourself too closely with one group or another.
4. Be a good communicator – As we know that politics are all about people, so strong Interpersonal Skills will stand you in good stead when it comes to building and maintaining your network.
5. Act Clever– The expression, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” often applies to office politics. Be courteous but guarded and try to understand their goals, so that you can avoid or counter the impact of their negative politicking.
6. Be Neutral – You can help to make a workplace become more positive by not joining in negative politics. Show that you are professional, and don’t take sides, or get sucked into arguments. When a conflict arises, remember that there doesn’t have to be a winner and a loser. It’s often possible to find a solution that satisfies everyone.
Developing these traits will always help you avoid corporate politics. You’ll be able to rely on your social intelligence instead, getting a quick read on situations and thinking on your feet. As you do, you’ll become better at handling office politics and, as a bonus, become more promotable too.