Coping With Office Politics self help books & personal development Office Politics article
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Politics is one of the dirtiest aspects of any society.
It involves jockeying for position, grabbing attention, and mudslinging. These exist in any democratic government. Politics can get so cheap and nasty that it almost feels like we are watching a soap opera on television while actually tuning in to late night news.
Unfortunately, unlike soaps where we can detach ourselves from simplistic stories and bawling actors, we have to deal with politics in the office every single day. As if the drudgeries of an eight-to-five job are not enough, we face various people with ulterior motives superiors, peers, and subordinates alike. It is next to impossible to find a politics-free workplace.
The definition of the word politics pertains to social relations relating to authority and power. If a person masters the operative words in this definition managing relationships and handling authority, surviving or even transcending office politics will not be too difficult.
The easier part of the equation is handling authority. It does not matter if we are talking about a superior or a subordinate. We must handle authority with care.
If you are a subordinate dealing with a difficult and close-minded boss, letting him know of your sentiments might only make things worse. The issue becomes bloated exponentially when he finds out indirectly.
Never take out your beef against your boss publicly not unless you are willing to take the risk of instant unemployment. However, do take advantage of a boss who is willing to listen. Such a superior can be a great mentor, if not great colleague or even friend.
If you are the boss, you should likewise take care not cause something that would provoke your subordinates to hate you. Give credit where it is due; do the praising in public as long as it is proper. Reprimand privately. Listen to underachievers to see if they have problems or need help. Do not give your people reason to believe that you are favoring one worker over another.
The harder part of the equation is managing relationships. It is inevitable that the nuances of a professional relationship will spill over to the personal domain. It may sound like a cliché but communication is the key to effective relationship management.
Present your ideas to peers and superiors alike. This way, the boss has the opportunity to recognize the work that you do. This is also a good way to keep co-workers from stealing your ideas; if others have heard it from you the first time, nobody could steal them.
Acknowledge your peers who presented a good idea or helped you achieve a goal. Thank them for their good ideas. If they know that you recognize and appreciate their work, they would be eager to help you the next time around. They would also be more likely to acknowledge you in the future.
Stay away from colleagues who are sources or magnets of office politics. It would not be too hard to recognize these types. Be on the look out for gossip whispering in pantries and around water coolers. Stay away from constant whiners who never quit their job anyway and the concerned seatmate who starts talking about which person to avoid in the office, etc. Avoiding them might consequently make you a subject of their sessions. Staying away from these people would, in the end, lead to a less stressful and less adversarial work environment.
Finally, constantly ask for feedback. If it is awkward to ask, try to listen and find out. This would be easier in companies with peer evaluation systems. If something comes up against you, try to be objective and evaluate their concerns with an open mind. Many times these would be negative actions that you are unaware of or completely unintentional. Take it as an opportunity to improve yourself; apologize where necessary and appropriate.
These suggestions, if properly applied, would help you coast through and survive a politically charged workplace. It can make your cubicle a politics-free environment at least, until you find a better environment to work in.
Just Got Promoted? How to Handle Office Politics
After years of hard work and coping up with difficult bosses, you finally got the promotion! You get that long-awaited raise, big fat bonus, nice little office, and a coveted parking space.
However, after drinking champagne and treating the family out to dinner, you must finally face the long road ahead: bigger responsibilities, longer working hours, and, the trickiest part of them all, dealing with more people.
Here are some pointers to help you in dealing with people:
First things first, do not let your position get into your head. Do you remember how you hated this boss for being so condescending or another boss for being so out of touch? Letting your position or title control your interactions with other people is the surest way to gain enemies!
Previous bosses are good sources of what NOT to do when you are in similar position. Remember things that you liked about the bosses you have had. List down your rants and raves and this will serve as your what to do and not to do list.
Ever had a boss that embarrassed you in front of other people but never praised you if you did something good? Make a note to praise and give credit in public and reprimand in private. Did you ever have a boss who is a slave-driver devil who wears Prada? Have you had one who left you alone and clueless and was too lax? Make a note to be firm with your subordinates but do not breathe down their necks.
Make the list as comprehensive as possible and read it regularly, if only to make sure that you are not making the same mistakes your other bosses did.
Treat your subordinates well. It might not have occurred to you, but a well-performing employee under your supervision now might overtake you and become your boss in the future. You will never want to be in the position where your whipping boy might get hold of the whip and turn the tables on you. Here is your best bet: let go of the whip.
Imagine this, you find yourself in a situation where a more senior subordinate one who is older and has worked longer in your company or someone that was bypassed for promotion, becomes your worst detractor. Sometimes these people would just drop lines for you to hear, but other times they become outright adversarial and would question every single rule you lay down, idea you present, or policy that you enforce.
To wiggle out of this tight spot, you must convince this person that you recognize his seniority. The best way to do this is to give him greater responsibilities or even share some of your responsibilities with him. Recognize his expertise (or at least what he claims to be his expertise!) by sharing responsibility. This is a win-win situation for you. If he delivers, then you would have found yourself a good assistant. If he doesnt deliver, everybody will know and he will be forced to put his foot where his mouth is.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when you become a boss is to remember where you came from. While few people would like to remember their drudgeries in the rank-and-file, it is important to remember your list of how you wished to be treated by your boss. Merely playing by that rule will not only make you a better supervisor, or manager, or chairman; it will also makes you a good leader.
How to Live With Office Politics without Losing Your Cool
The word ‘politics’ is often misunderstood. Most people think that it just involves only those elected into power or individuals that are engaged in some form of power play in the top ranks of the government. They are right in the sense that it involves ways on how people manage power but wrong in thinking that it is limited to governments only.
In fact, politics is everywhere, be it in school, home, and in the office. It is something that we cannot escape. It is politics when we try to tell our teacher that one of our classmates is trying to get ahead in class by sucking up to another professor. It is politics when a sibling tells his parents that his sister deserves to go to the prom. Anything that has something to do with social interaction, negotiation, and compromise is politics.
Thus, it should not be a surprise when this is present in your office the one place where competition is palpable and very much expected.
So, you are promoted general manager. Naturally, you are ecstatic, and you begin telling all your co-workers how excited you are with your new duties. Everyone seems happy for you except for a group of colleagues who do extend their congratulations but are not convincing enough to believe that they actually mean it.
At first, it does not really bother you as you move on to your new duties as a higher-ranking officer. However, you suddenly hear stories about how you tried to ditch work to watch your favorite game months back or how you mistakenly logged in a customer’s information under a different one when you were just starting out in the company.
Why are all these coming out now? You might wonder. What’s it for?
Welcome to the world of office politics; where nobody, not even the nicest person in the group, is spared from intrigue and tiny ‘stories’! This should not be a surprise to you because any office setting really has some level of competition involved. When competition is present, jealousy can set in and silently wreak its havoc among staff.
In this case, the best way is to learn how to deal with it. There are many methods you can apply to rise above all the backbiting and shallow criticism. These all boil down to one single advice: ignore them and do your job the best you can. If you fight back, chances are, conflict will escalate, and more people will get involved.
You come to work not to be bothered with petty comments from other people. So just do your job and deliberately turn a deaf ear to politics. It will not do you any good to listen and allow these to affect you. Remember, if you succumb to office politics, your job will be at risk, not theirs.
Office politics is always present. Decide to rise above its pettiness and prove that you are more professional than the rest of the pack.
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