By Perminus Wainaina
Mindtools.com defines Office politics as the strategies that people play to gain an advantage, personally or for a cause they support mostly in the workplace. The term often has a negative connotation, in that it refers to strategies people use to seek advantage at the expense of others or their greater good.
Office politicking often affects working relationships and the office environment negatively though when well played, good office politics can help you promote yourself amongst people with influence in your workplace
However, when a lot of the politicking happening in your workplace is negative, here are a few tips you can use to get around the undesirable.
To fix a work culture characterized by negative office politics, you need to get involved. Studies show that when people feel they don’t belong in a group, their physical health and well-being tumbles – so, if you’re feeling isolated or excluded by negative office politics, it makes sense to try to make friends and not just friends but meaningful relationships.
Internal networking can involve moving the relationship with your colleagues from work acquaintances to allies who can vouch for you and defend you in any given situation.
Say for example the said office politics involves a common bully, your close allies can help stand up against the bully.
2.Broadcast your productivity
When you are subject to colleagues’ political tactics – such as taking credit for your work – it’s important not to strike back immediately no matter how tempting it may be to expose the co-worker or boss in front of others, as this can backfire.
A solution to this can be the tactfully broadcasting your productivity by ensuring that those who matter are aware of what you are working on, your results and any positive outcome related to input. I do not mean that you keep running to your bosses with every little achievement, but keeping them up-to-date with your performance record, seeking their guidance on specific tasks while also building their confidence that you have the important things covered
When your bosses’ and or superiors know what you are doing and have done, this protects your reputation: if your work ethic is called into question by colleagues, you then have a way to prove your productivity.
3.Don’t lower yourself to their level
When colleagues try to make you look bad or undermine you, it’s tempting to do likewise. However, this can backfire: you may come across as petty and is unlikely to change your boss or co-worker’s behavior.
A better way to deal with difficult colleagues is to ask them for private conversations. Calmly ask them why they act how they do, rather than accusing them. This is often the best way to change behavior, as it requires them to reflect on their actions.
4.Change the culture from within
Office politics should be looked at as something that can be reframed into a positive. You should work to contribute to a culture at your company that values people and discourages abusing people in any form.
The best way to do this is to praise others, encourage teamwork and be empathetic to your co-workers. By making an effort to change the culture to one of kindness and honesty, you can create a better environment for everyone.
5.Be straight forward
The best way to survive office politics is to be a straight arrow or simply being your own person, responsible for your own actions. Position yourself in such a way that your colleagues know that you are not the person to go to for little workplace gossip sessions. Carry out your duties as you are supposed to and air your opinions openly and admit to your own mistakes. Your co-workers though they will not always agree with you, will respect your stand and position.
6.Coexist in peace with your co-workers
The most effective way to get around negative office politics is to coexist in peace with others. You may not always like everybody in the office, but you can find ways to create a conflict free environment. In case of disparities, concentrate more on the issue at hand rather than the person.
Peaceful coexistence ensures that you remain afloat when negative politics arise.
Office politics will always exist in every organization. Destructive office politics, however, cause conflicts in the office affecting productivity. Learning to survive is the only thing you can do.
Adopted from www.thegurdian.com
Perminus Wainaina is a Certified HR Consultant, Career Coach and Managing Partner of Corporate Staffing Services As a career coach, Perminus helps experienced professionals to Maximize their Career Potential and become better versions of themselves. Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for details.