Politics in the office is inevitable. How do you arm yourself so that you do not become sucked into office politics or become a victim of one?
If you have ever been a part of a company, than you probably know what office politics is. Whether you are working for a renowned Multi National Corporation or even a harmless start up, politics are inevitable. Office politics are part of the moves and strategies every single one of your co-workers employ strategically to gain some sort of an advantage, and it is rarely ever regarded in a positive light.
These power struggles and occasional manipulation can cause drama. Not to mention that they are terribly difficult to get out of. In today’s world, resisting office politics may even spell death for career advancement or promotions. While getting too involved in them might also land you in hot soup, we figured out five of the best ways to beating office politics.
Skip the Water Cooler Chit Chat
Once you see something stirring up with a possibility of gossip or a talk that is potentially harmful, walk away. Stay out of it. Pretend you are really busy or
distracted by the flower delivery guy at the door. It is really easy to tell a toxic situation simply by the way they are huddled together, and their obvious efforts in making their conversation unheard. It is best to distance yourself because in the end, you do not have to prove anything to your colleagues or be admired by every single person in your company. You do not have to be like the colleague who buys dozens of cupcakes for the whole department each week, just to be on the good side of your superior. Just do your thing, and you might dodge a bullet or two.
Take the No Comment Approach
Office politics is like a whirlpool—sometimes you are sucked in against your will. If this happens, choose your words wisely. Or you can take the ‘no comments’ approach. Saves you a whole lot of trouble, really.
If you are forced to make a comment, that is a red flag! Calm down and think of the best things to say, without it coming back to haunt you. You could also act fast by changing the situation and asking questions before you make your own judgement on these hearsays. At the same time, make the questions appear to border on being boring, trivia and ‘I don’t actually care’. Eventually everyone will change the subject, or stop the conversation entirely over time.
Be Assertive, not Hostile
It is one thing to stand your ground, have an opinion and be confident about it, and it is another to be forceful and plant thoughts into the minds of others. You can be confident and assertive when making a point, without being pushy. Confidence will show your colleagues that you know what you are doing and that you cannot be influenced easily. This is usually when most colleagues will leave you alone, and not include you in office small talk. If they cannot influence you, then you are literally of no interest to them.
Try to Connect with Everyone
A big mistake would be trying to connect with just people of ’power’ in the
office. Recognise the people who hold key roles in the office and the ones who influence decisions, and try your best not to offend them. At the same time, make sure that everyone knows you will give everyone a fair chance. People do not like to be played around with or manipulated, so try and talk to everyone on the same level.
Be a good listener, and show people that you really address their issues. Do not make it seem like you always initiate conversation because you have something on your agenda. Try to connect with everyone, be honest, and see where it will take you. That way, you will avoid being labelled as the office ‘politician’.
Do Not Start Anything
Do not start conversations if you know it is going to lead you in an undesired direction. You might not like who joins the conversation and you will end up smack talking before you know it. If you do not start conversations, you are highly unlikely to get invited to them either. We are not saying to complete isolate yourself, just be careful about who you start conversations with.
Some individuals might not like the fact that office politics exists, in fact they consider it an unnecessary evil. If you are a realist, you probably will not adore the idea of playing such games. But in today’s world where your next promotion might depend on your conduct in the office, you have to blend with the crowd and become tactical