How to Survive Office Politics? Here Are 6 Tips
Office politics. You can’t escape it. It can be found in every type of business. But what exactly IS “office politics” anyway? In the simplest of terms, it is the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, or conflicts of interests which are often manifested as “office politics”. It all comes down to human communications and relationships. Office politics are challenging for everyone but some people handle it much better than others. If you find you are not as skilled at navigating difficult situations, here are 6 tips to help you navigate office politics.
1. Be complementary
People love complements. If you are having trouble with a certain person, win them over with flattery. Kill them with kindness! I have been in situations where some find it hard to hide their dislike of their boss (or co-workers). Publicly spouting off about others never turns out favorable. If you don’t like the person, learn to fake it. It may not sound like an easy thing to do, but it’s the only thing you can do to win in office politics, especially if the person is your superior. Make sure your body language matches your words. No eye rolls, take a deep breath (don’t sigh) and smile!
2. Be cautious with whom you trust
If you’re not very good at faking it, observe a colleague who is generally accepted by others. Befriend colleagues who are able handle difficult people and be mindful of whom you trust. You must error on the side of caution when it comes to sharing information, especially if it’s negative. View everyone you talk to (or email) as a potential informant that might bring information back to the enemy. It may sound cynical, but it’s self-preservation. Hopefully, you have true friends you can trust at the workplace, but don’t go around sharing your negative thoughts and feelings too freely.
3. Don’t criticize
I’ve seen it happen so many times, especially during meetings. When someone disagrees with another person, they have a tendency to attack the person, not the idea. Try your best to separate the person from the ideas they are sharing. . If you do not like what they are saying, instead of criticizing them, try asking clarifying questions about their ideas. Others will easily support well thought-out ideas. If the person cannot come up with good evidence as to why their solution is better, maybe they will see the light through your questioning process.
4. Be approachable
Don’t try to change or resist company culture including dress, communication styles and office hours. Being different or rebellious does not work. It’s important to go with the flow! Be open, and approachable. Be aware of how others perceive you. Just doing your job is not enough. You need to do it in a way that makes a positive impression on everyone else.
5: Use social media cautiously
If you do connect with coworkers through social media, don’t engage in inappropriate relationships or present an unprofessional side of yourself. Social controversy will not end in promotion for you; it will only end in embarrassment. Pretend the company president is personally following your every move on social media and act accordingly. A better option might be to restrict work connections to LinkedIn and leave Facebook for “real-life friends,” family, and neighbors. In other words, don’t mix business with pleasure.
6. Don’t bring a bad attitude home with you
I know it is difficult but it’s so important to leave the office problems at the office. When people are stressed out at work because of office politics, it is easy to let it spill over into your personal life. You might be nasty to your spouse, your kids, or your friends. Remember, these people are not the cause of your stress–the office is. Don’t give the office politics the power to ruin your home life. Do your best to block it out when you’re at home and enjoy your time away from work. That means, putting down your device and forget about checking office email!
Office politics are inevitable but if you remember to follow these 6 tips, then your days at work will be much easier to manage. If you find yourself miserable beyond measure in your work environment, it may be time to find another job. Just remember, office politics are everywhere but a fresh start and new faces may help you become more willing to deal with it.