In this political season it seems apropos to talk about office politics. I have a colleague who states, “I stay out of the office politics at work.” But is this reality – is he a team player, doing a good job, someone you can count on? Office politics is fraught with difficulty, but also part of human behavior. Politics is needed in an open, democratic system. It is also important to career success and personal growth.So how do we manage office politics?
Get the ‘lay of the land’. Your workplace is full of allies and friends, and if you listen and observe, you may discover who is aligned with whom, and why, so
- who has lunch together,
- who gets invited to important meetings, and who doesn’t.
- • who is the first person to know the latest,
- what are the cultural hot buttons that get people talking.
Build broad alliances. Reach out to others in the organization so that you understand different points of view. Show people across the board that they can count on you to be objective and a good listener.
Keep your goals in mind. Remember that you are not engaging in office politics to be ‘one of them’, but to achieve career success and personal fulfillment. One of those goals needs to be striving for a ‘win-win’ outcome. Politics often has the connotation of someone losing. But it needn’t be that way. Here is where having a goal to be a good negotiator, and being successful at it, gains you a great and trustworthy reputation.
Stick to your principles. Getting involved isn’t always easy or wise. Carefully consider why you are taking next steps to be involved. Don’t let the reason be fear, revenge, or jealousy. Ask yourself if your decision to be involved is fair and constructive behavior, and consistent with your values and beliefs.
Deciding to stay out of politics entirely is not an effective strategy. As long as it is going on around you, you are affected by it. It’s better to be a competent player than a bystander or a pawn.
A complete article on this subject can be found as “How to Win at Office Politics”, by Dr. Travis Bradbury, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 at LinkedIn.
Author: Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org