Office Politics: How to Deal with It?

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Dealing with Office PoliticsRumormongers and office saboteurs – they exist and lurk around the workplace, rooting office politics. Actually, in almost every company or business organization, whether big or small, favoritism and internal power struggles emerge. Issues regularly circulate to spread dissatisfaction and destroy the unity of people.

How do you deal with office politics? Instead of dabbling with books about the art of manipulating people, what you need to do is to learn how to withstand the pressure and stay afloat above troubled waters. The following are some tips to consider:

Learn when and how to listen and cut gossips

As much as you want to avoid the gossip mills in the office, colleagues around you might still try to pull you into joining conversations that are loaded with nothing, but plain rumors. On the other hand, it can be wise to keep yourself within the circle of information. This can be a learning experience where you get to understand certain unwritten laws that have mysteriously remained untold for a long time. Listening to rumors is not bad at all, for as long as you don’t contribute to its proliferation by making subjective remarks out of mere hearsays. When the topic is about conflicting parties or rivalries, avoid getting too involved with either side by politely walking away. Taking sides will make you appear as a co-conspirator to the other party. Of course, you don’t want to be a target of mudslinging.

Be certain of favoritism

You are working very hard, but your boss gives special assignments to a co-worker. Managers have their own biases and practice partisanship. In this case, you may easily assume that you are a victim, especially if you think that a certain decision is not favorable to you. The tip is to take the initiative by openly telling to your supervisor about your interest in accepting special additional tasks. Do not lash out to him or her by crying foul on the issue of favoritism for which you do not have basis. He or she may not have observed your qualities or may be simply waiting for you to take the initiative. Avoid sour-graping by overcoming feelings of frustration. Focus on further developing your skills.

How to recognize a rival

Do you have a colleague who seems to be doing something to make you look bad? If they are intentionally undermining your efforts to get ahead, it may be a sign of rivalry. How do you deal with him or her? You may opt to confront the person and question his or her actions. Do this matter-of-factly rather than in an accusatory approach. Avoid being emotional, but rather focus on the facts when stressing a point. Do not fail to listen to the other side. If this doesn’t help in patching up the conflict, try this second option. Document their actions, gather evidence to support your claims, and demonstrate how they affect or hamper your work performance. Then bring the matter to the attention of your supervisor. But make sure to do this in an objective and professional posture.


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3 Comments on “Office Politics: How to Deal with It?”

  1. Liliana

    Office Politics is much more than favortism, gossip, and rivery… It’s the manner in which a company runs it’s business. It start with upper managerment practice and what they’re willing to tolerate and to what extend or expense of whom… It has been my experience and observation that the NEW BUZZ word “Perception” is based on what their close contacts feel and say about their targets whether it’s to help or harm the target.

    My questions is how do you protect or help change your boss’s mind when it’s negative and they only allow contact of upper management.

  2. ingrid

    Liliana, it’s very important that you know what your objectives are and where you exactly stand if you want to protect your boss or help change his mind about politics in your workplace, particularly in a case in which your boss/superior only allows contact of upper management.

    To protect your boss, you can prove those ‘detractors’ wrong by showing them that a certain decision or ‘perception’ of your company doesn’t necessarily aim to harm or damage anyone; that you, yourself, is an example of such. Choose to sincerely act unaffectedly and let those issues die naturally. Eventually, they will realize their mistakes.

    Meanwhile, you can help change your boss’ mind by taking the courage to speak up objectively. Focus on how a certain company’s decision or ‘perception’ affects you or a group of people in the company. Try to do this without having your emotions get in the way, so your boss can see that you are only trying to communicate your concerns for the company’s good, as well. The thing is, all this will still depend on how open minded your boss is or how willing he is to listen to the concerns of his employees, specifically ‘ordinary’ ones or subordinates.

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