Office Politics – What do I do?
The bane of our lives… At least for those of us, who dislike “The Game”
I had an encounter today, and it set me thinking, got me into a reflective mood where I went though my journey of how I managed to deal with this nasty bit of work.
See how I talk about it? I guess it’s clear…I HATED politics. Still do, but I am a lot calmer about it. So I thought I’d share some of my own learning. I’m sure there are some people out there who could use some advice. Some guidance.
It OK to hate politics. Its stupid not to recognize or understand the political nuances at your workplace, or in your Rotary club or the Golf Club.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to play politics. The fewer of us who play it, the sooner we will live in a world bereft of it. But till that happens,
Step 1. Acceptance. Admit, understand and believe that politics is a part of your life. Always will be.
Step 2. Learn to understand and recognize politics. I’m not saying play politics. I’m saying you need to know which are the teams out there. Who are the players. Who’s the captain. Who’s playing left field. Get the picture? Understand the power structure and the political hierarchy.
How do you do this? Befriend someone who understands. This person maybe like you, a bystander. Or a player, but someone who doesn’t see you as a threat. They will help you understand. Tap into the grapevine. It’s essential!
Step 3. Understand the minefield. Learn where the key trigger-points are. What to do, what not to do. Know where the mines are and how to find a safe way around the danger spots.
Step 4. Find an ally. Ensure you have an ally who is a key figure in this game. Don’t get me wrong again. I’m not saying you play the game, or aid/abet/assist in any way. All I’m saying is, be good at what you do. Be honest to your job/role. But ensure you have someone who is ready to stand for you and support you. Because sometimes even innocent bystanders get shot.
Step 5. Stay clean. Don’t align with any camp. Don’t be caught saying the wrong thing in the wrong place. We all get frustrated and sometimes say something out of line. Stay away from that temptation.
Step 6. Lastly, stay non-aligned. No camps. No sides. Focus on your work, your priorities and you will be fine as long as you deliver results.
How will you know if your ally/friend is the right one…there will be others like you who will know. Don’t decide too soon. Stay a while in the system, get to know it, before you make your choices.
It’s not easy in the beginning, but over time it becomes a skill just like walking. And you’ll do just fine.
Rishi Raj Gupta (a friend and very dynamic HR professional) puts it very well“I manage the game by not being involved, yet by being informed”
Would love to hear your stories of how you handled office politics. Leave a note!
- Paranoid or Just Insecure? (blue2darknight.wordpress.com)
- In Defense Of Games At Work (forbes.com)
- Fun With Office Politics – cubeduel (lockergnome.com)
- How To Defeat Your Office’s Political Voldermort? (mohdhijazi.wordpress.com)
- Office Politics – Survival of the Savvy (chicagonow.com)