Dealing with Office Politics – Keeping it Positive

It doesn’t matter how well grounded you are as a person. The one thing you can never avoid in the workplace is office politics. Wherever you have a group of people with different personalities, you’re going to encounter office politics at some point. Whilst that can’t be avoided, it’s important to know how to manage the situation positively.

workers shaking hands in an office

Playing Positive Office Politics

If you hate the term office politics, your first thought might be to say that you won’t get involved.

However, it would be the wrong move to adopt that rigid attitude. Let’s look at it on a wider scale. Where groups of people are involved, there are bound to be personality clashes from time to time. It’s not enough to bury your head in the sand all of the time.


Be Part of the Solution in the Office

If you’re married, or you share a house there will inevitably be a clash of personalities sometimes. Issues will arise that you need to be involved in so that you’re part of the solution. Like it or not, the same holds true in the workplace.

You may be very fortunate and work in an office where everyone gets on all of the time. However, dynamics can change so it’s best to be prepared when office politics might rear their ugly head.


Strategies to Deal with office Politics

It’s better to adopt some useful strategies to keep the effects of office politics on you to a minimum.

What you should aim for is to manage any effects of office politics that relate to you, and to turn them in your favour. If you can’t do that, you can at least minimise their effects on you.


Dealing With the Power Hungry

Office politics tend to happen if one or more than one person holds significant power within the office.

These can be people who will blame others for their mistakes, or try to undermine the efforts and abilities of others. However, there are several ways you can counteract these actions so that they don’t affect you.

Firstly, try to get to know the politically powerful within your organisation. By not being afraid of them, they are often more receptive to people who aren’t intimidated by them, and more willing to listen to alternative ideas.

If someone tries to undermine you in a meeting, don’t get drawn into a heated argument. Simply be bold and assertive. Don’t be aggressive when making your points and if their behaviour persists, calmly take your leave.

If you are asked why you did that, simply say that you found that the meeting was becoming more destructive than positive.


Focus on Your Accomplishments

A lot of people who play office politics do so because they are unsure about their abilities and achievements.

They try to conceal their own shortcomings behind a façade and to make others feel they less worthy. Therefore, it’s important to be proud of your own accomplishments. Without blowing your own trumpet, make sure that your efforts are recognised and noted by those who matter.

If most of the staff are aware that you consistently produce good work, this is far more likely to curry favour more than the office bully. They may be far less accomplished than you are but who will also try to undermine you whenever possible. Simply view that as their weakness.

Bullying at work is never to be tolerated. But if you’re able to rise above petty behaviour it will help deter toxic colleagues.


Get a Mentor

Forming an allegiance with a more experienced colleague is often a useful way to counteract any effects from office politics.

They will be able to advise you on how you should handle difficult situations.

It’s perfectly acceptable not to become embroiled in office politics. A good way to avoid this is to keep your counsel by not doing things like getting embroiled in idle gossip.

However, you should also be prepared to challenge anybody who might be looking to undermine you. Always do this politely but assertively and from a position of strength where you have some facts which you can use that back your statements up.

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