Workplace politics occur when people bring their personal emotions, needs, ambitions, and insecurities into their professional lives. Politics at the workplace are a part and parcel of almost every single organization today. While some situations can be brought under our control, there are a lot of them that can simply just go out of hand. Here are some tips that could be applicable right from interns to managers, to cope effectively, and survive office politics –
Avoid workplace gossip
Gossip is probably the worst way to find yourself in a vortex of office politics. Nothing good comes out of it, and it only does more harm. However, do not lecture your colleagues on the perils of gossip, as you could annoy them. Try subtly changing the subject if you find the conversation is headed in an unnecessary direction. If that doesn’t work out for you, simply excuse yourself from the conversation – it is seemingly better to not be a part of any sort of gossip at all.
Have a written record
Nothing saves you from a sticky situation at work more than documenting stuff. It could be something as simple as writing it down in your diary, or drafting an e-mail. For example, if you have a certain task you’d like to be done by a colleague, e-mail him/her about it rather than verbally tell them. In that way, you avoid the possibility of them denying having being told to do that particular task altogether.
Maintain friendly relations with your colleagues
Easier said than done, considering that it is virtually impossible to get along with ALL of your colleagues! What could make it easier is to be cordial towards the concerned person? Don’t be unnecessarily rude to them, or snap back at them when they ask something of you. At the same time, do not hold any sort of negative emotion in and build up that frustration, waiting to explode. Instead, bring forward your concerns and issues with your colleague(s), and try to find a middle ground on ways to work better.
Too often, the opposite person might find us ‘unapproachable’ when we usually feel like we’re not. This doesn’t mean that you’re rude to your colleague, but it could be that you keep to yourself most of the time, have some off-putting habits, or give out pessimistic vibes in general. Try to be as helpful as you can to your colleague, should they come to you with a problem. Don’t put down a colleague to further your own interest. Instead, focus on reasoning out with them, and don’t shy away from politely calling them out if they’re in the wrong.
Do not take sides
If you have a work friend engaged in an argument with another colleague, human nature gives us the tendency to side with our ‘friend’ even if they’re in the wrong. The best thing you could do is to listen to what both parties have to say, and properly explain a solution to both. Playing the blame-game invites unnecessary animosity, and although you may feel like you owe it to your ‘friend’ than the other colleague, chances are that you might have to work closely with the colleague in the future, which will make things awkward for the both of you.