If you work in an office, you’ve likely had to deal with office politics—they’re unavoidable.
Even the most well-run businesses involve some level of politics, no matter how strong the company culture. The nature of corporations, and teams in general, leads to politicking and jockeying for power.
Office politics exist for a few reasons: workers have varying levels of power, employees are competing for limited resources (promotions, bonuses, etc.), and people and teams have different goals or objectives.
While nobody particularly enjoys dealing with office politics, they come with the territory of working in the office environment and if you want to be successful in your career you’ll have to learn how to deal with them appropriately.
With that being said, there are definitely right and wrong ways to handle the office politics you encounter in your day-to-day work. These tips should help you navigate the murky waters of office politics.
Politicking doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it might feel uncomfortable or unsavory to engage in these battles for power, but you need to be assertive and protect your standing in the company.
You certainly don’t need to involve yourself in petty gossip, but avoiding office politics completely could be a detriment to achieving your personal goals and potentially hold you back in your career.
To recap, follow these guidelines to effectively and appropriately manage the politics of your office:
- Visualize the company in terms of influencers and power players
- Strive to be neutral during arguments or conflicts
- Build friendships and allies
- Document your accomplishments
- Be wary of competitive colleagues
- Pick and choose your battles wisely
- Always conduct yourself in a professional manner
- Find and take advantage of win-win situations
- Neutralize the negative politics of others
- Demonstrate transparency and consistency in your decisions
If you adhere to these best practices you can successfully navigate office politics to maintain your dignity and achieve your career goals.