Office politics is a reality in many workplaces and you can’t sit it out. You need to learn and implement appropriate tips for surviving in such workplaces with your sanity intact.
All workplaces are political to an extent because professionals, being humans, bring their own ambitions, emotions, needs, and insecurities to the workplace along with them. Everyone seeks success; they don't always agree with one another in their pursuit of success. Office politics begins when these differences of personality and opinion become tough to manage.
Dealing with office politics can be really stressful. However, you can survive office politics or workplace politics and use it to your advantage while staying professional at all times. As I have observed in many cases, it is possible to promote yourself and accomplish your professional objectives without compromising your values or relationships at your workplace by implementing a few smart strategies.
8 Strategies to Survive Office Politics and Gain Advantages Through Them
If you want office politics to work for you in a positive way, you first need to accept it as a reality. Its intensity may vary over time but chances are, it will never disappear entirely. Develop appropriate strategies to identify and understand political behaviour and focus on building a strong and supportive network for the long term.
Here are eight remarkable strategies I would like to share with you that I have derived from my extensive experience gained while helping many professionals as an Executive Coach to overcome workplace challenges and emerge successful.
1. Avoid Gossip
Effective communication at the workplace is key to professional success but you need to avoid gossip under the guise of workplace communication to tackle office politics. Be honest about your goals and focus on them while interacting with your colleagues. Be transparent about your intentions with them to avoid rumours and gossip. If you need to discuss something urgent and personal with a colleague, do it in a secluded space so that no one overhears you.
2. Combat Negative Politics
You can’t let the fire grow by ignoring it. When it comes to combating negative office politics, merely avoiding gossip and rumours may not be enough; you need to get involved in conversations and make your colleagues aware of the credibility and impact of rumours. Present them with real facts and figures to gain and promote trust among your colleagues.
3. Create a Collaborative Environment
Always take a collaborative approach and foster honest and open communication with your colleagues. A collaborative environment at workplaces mitigates the chances of hidden agendas and bitter office politics. Create an environment that makes team members feel safe from judgment. They are more likely to speak openly, convey their opinions, and contribute their ideas freely without any ulterior motives.
4. Understand the Informal Network
Observe closely, but discreetly and respectfully, to understand who gets along with whom and who finds it more difficult to interact with others. These insights will help you understand the flow of power and influence in the workplace. Regulate your interactions and build relationships accordingly to avoid any interpersonal conflicts.
5. Build Positive Work Relationships
Building a strong professional network can be a highly advantageous tool to cope with corporate politics as well as your career advancement. Put conscious efforts into networking to have strong, positive relationships at your workplace. Loyalty and friendship not only help in combating office politics but also broaden your career horizons.
6. Keep Records of Tasks and Communication
There can be situations when someone blames you for their mistake. Keeping meticulous work and communication records can help you overcome such obstacles. Your work record can provide crucial context if someone questions your work. Maintain a meticulous record that includes dates, deliverables, activities, and communication for every project.
7. Learn to Handle Tough Conversations
Conflicts are going to happen in the workplace. It is highly recommended to manage conflicting situations at an early stage through apt conversation tactics to prevent the situation from worsening and maintain a fine professional decorum while suppressing the chances of negative office politics. Let people share their views and feedback without any fear or hesitation. Always proceed with such a conversation with a calm mindset.
8. Practice Self Care to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed
Workplace politics can upset you mentally and emotionally. Instead of getting overwhelmed and harming your well-being, learn to calm your nerves. Self-care acts can be quite useful in dealing with that stress. Practising conscious self-care activities empowers you to control your mind, body and soul in a better way.
All organizations need structure, and positively using office politics can help attain that objective in a healthy and sustainable way, although misusing it can cause contempt and resistance within the workplace. Implement the above-mentioned strategies at your workplace for the greater good of everyone instead of just a few.
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Smita D Jain is a Certified Life Coach, Executive Coach and NLP Practitioner. Smita’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Personal Clarity Coaching Programs enable busy professionals unhappy in their jobs to tap into their passions and transform them into professions so that they work because they want to, not because they have to.
Before her journey as a coach, Smita had extensive experience of 14 years as a corporate and business strategy professional with Fortune 500 companies. She is also a speaker at various public forums, a published writer, and an Amazon bestselling author.
You can learn more about Personal Empowerment Life Coach and Executive Coach Smita D Jain’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Programs by visiting www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com and book a strategy session at https://www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com/booking.