Ramesh had a good year at work: he delivered on all his targets and even beat some of them. Moreover, he had a reputation of being a friendly, cooperative and hard-working person and was liked by his colleagues.
So when their marketing manager resigned, everyone expected Ramesh to get the position. But the company hired a new marketing manager instead, leaving Ramesh heartbroken.
What is office politics?
Ramesh didn’t even realize that he was a victim of workplace politics.
Work politics or office politics is a reality of today’s corporate world. Whichever office or field of work you are employed in, chances are you will have to deal with work politics.
The term work politics is used for employee activities carried out to further personal agenda. People who indulge in workplace politics often don’t hesitate in ensuring personal growth at the expense of their colleagues.
If you don’t wish to be disadvantaged like Ramesh then you need to learn the way office politics works. This knowledge of workplace politics can help you overcome challenges created by others who might try to hurt your growth for their own benefits.
How to manage politics at the workplace
Let’s not be ignorant of the truth that office politics is prevalent in every organization. Focusing on water-cooler chatter, the language of gestures and smoking room groups will only be detrimental to you. The better strategy is to keep your work in order, handle your responsibilities well and maintain an oblivious exterior to whatever politics takes place behind your back.
Additionally, make note of these five tips that will keep you insulated from any workplace politics related shocks:
Create your own friend circle
Are you the person who is immersed in work and heads home as soon as the daily workload finishes? Are you not a part of office WhatsApp groups? More importantly, do you skip office parties or out-of-office bonding opportunities that others indulge in.
It is time to change this and be friends with your colleagues. The idea is not to waste precious work hours chatting or getting sloshed at the bar after work, but to invest some of your time and effort to forge alliances and friendships with your workmates. Staying out of the groups can lead to isolation and eventually becoming a ‘target’ of office politics.
Own your work
One of the most common tricks in office politics is to take credit for work done by others or to diminish the value of the effort put in by others. Don’t let that happen.
Whatever you do at work, keep it properly documented and make sure your colleagues and the management are aware of it. This will help you create a compelling case for your performance not only during the annual appraisals but also when someone raises doubts about your contributions.
Don’t get into mud-slinging
Nothing would give more joy to your rivals than to drag you into dirty games and then show you in a bad light. There is no doubt that you will feel provoked and be strongly tempted to retaliate.
However, you must know that is exactly what they want. The best defense would be to maintain your cool and structure your response on facts and data and take steps to ensure that the other person doesn’t get another shot at you. Sometimes, having a one-on-one discussion can clear misunderstandings.
Hold no grudges
People play politics against those who are perceived as threats. The primary cause of workplace politics is to further one’s own agenda and to seek growth at the cost of others. There is usually no personal hostility involved and as long as you don’t appear as a challenge to another person, you are unlikely to be adversely impacted.
Still, if somebody plays games against you but seeks reconciliation after being exposed, don’t hold a grudge. Nothing is personal or permanent at work. If you can let go of the past and gain an ally, then go for it.
Know but don’t tell
The commonest source of work politics is office gossip. It is usually savage and can involve character assassination and negative talks about a person’s integrity, capabilities and even personal life.
Though it can be juicy, you shouldn’t get involved in it. Ignore whatever you heard and don’t become a link in the gossip chain.
You can’t remain immune to or ignorant of the realities of office politics. Even if you are not keen to play the game against others, you must be well-versed with the tricks to ensure others don’t harm you. Harappa Education’s Navigating Workplaces course is an easy-to-learn online course with many tools to help you. This course will help you identify the workings and signs of office politics and strategically navigate them. If you wish to succeed at work and be known for being who you are, then this course is a must for you.
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