Office politicking is a common term among workers of every class. Whether you have a white collar job in a multinational or you are a supervisor in a mid-level manufacturing, we all have come across those who are eager to gain personal advantage on somebody else’s expense. The term ‘office politics’ has a negative undertone and it refers to baleful strategies that one uses cunningly to seek advance over others and gain fallacious favour.
It often leaves professional relationship in a mess and affects the working atmosphere to a great extent. However, positive office politics (often known as networking) can help one to get promoted without taking advantage of flattery.
If you are stuck in a cobweb of undue advantages given to your colleagues because of their obsequiousness and fawning, you must be anxious to get out of the polluted circle of office politics as well as distance yourself from such negativity.
Here are a few tips to deal with workplace politics and do not let yourself be a victim of sycophancy:
Think before you act
Since prehistoric days, humans have always shown the willingness to thrash those who pose a threat to them or run away from the scene, however both these reactions aren’t justified and cannot be called healthy for one’s professional growth. Behaving on instincts to win your professional fights is not an advice that any sane, mature person would give you.
You need to analyze a situation before you react to it in a workplace setting. Your appalling reaction to the circumstances can destroy your career. Choose to listen, grasp and understand the problem before mindlessly dealing with it in haste.
Business objectives should top your priority chart
Okay, you are having a conflict with your colleague about this month’s dwindling analytic figures and the strategy to improve them. However, you find yourself in a fix because the concerned co-worker is a friend and your conscience doesn’t allow going to the boss behind their back. In such a scenario, you are advised to focus on the business objectives rather than maintaining personal relationships. But to save your friendship, make it clear to your colleague that the argument between the two of you needs to go out in front of the manager to close the conflict at the earliest. Be logical when it comes to achieving your targets but try to have cordial relationships with your colleagues to avoid potential attacks in future.
Build strong relationships
To stay away from the messy political game or appear strong in your group of colleagues, it is better to choose side with people who are politically and authority-wise powerful at your workplace. Ensure that your social network crosses through at least two levels of hierarchy above you- your manager and his/her boss (your super boss).
Don’t even try your hand at empty flattery and use common interests and your work to form a trustworthy and respectful relationship with them.
You should also try to identify the people who drive the informal network in your organization. Try to notice any interpersonal conflict between the members of your team. The other survival tip would be to have friendly relationships across the teams or departments, however, avoid aligning with a particular group.
Learn to use your network intelligently
As you expand your social network, you need to learn how to use them to endorse yourself and your team members to stay clear of negative workplace politics. It depends on your capabilities of highlighting your strengths and instances of successes to the powerful people, who can protect you against unconstructive bureaucracy.
Through your network, try to gain organizational information, connect with above hierarchy, and highlight your achievements to increase the visibility of your intelligent work. Show yourself worthy of opportunities and make yourself and your team look worthy of appreciation.
Avoid being personal
When you are a part of an organization with high amount of office politics, you will find yourself irritated and angry over people who are responsible for all the negativity. Sometimes, you may wish to approach them and put them in their right places. However, the last thing you will never want to be held responsible for an over-escalated rumour, scandal or backbiting.
Control your anger to avoid emotional outbursts. Don’t give your co-workers a chance to be an audience to an ugly brawl. Instead tap into your strong network and look forward to grow in your career.
A scene at the office could also mean a delayed promotion, an urgent meeting with the boss or a bad weekly work review. Don’t expose yourself to pessimism only because at one moment, you failed to control your emotions.
Also when dealing with colleagues, prefer situations that are a win-win for both of you. Nobody likes to lose thus an enduring strategy to survive in an organisation without making enemies would be to create situations that can benefit you as well as the opposition.
Have everything documented & Transparent
To avoid any undesired situation, make sure you do all work or policy related communications on mails and be ready with those mails as a proof of your honesty. Never act on verbal orders or trust verbal communication as this may land you in trouble. Have everything documented.