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How to Successfully Navigate Office Politics

If the title seems too distant from your office situation, consider yourself lucky.

Approximately 80 percent of employees have to deal with office politics, drama, players and the like.

Gossip. Rumor-spreading. Pandering to the boss.

A boring office, at least in this case, is a blessing.

But if you work in a company where office politics are alive and well, you can’t ignore it.

Whether you’re dealing with a colleague who takes credit for your work, a boss that shows favoritism, a peer who schmoozes with the best of ‘em, or coworkers that form alliances, dealing with office politics is extremely difficult – especially if you want to come out the other side unscathed.

Here’s how to be politically savvy so you can keep the peace and your job:

  • Build your network. In this case, choose quantity over quality. In fact, some workplace experts believe that the bigger your network, the more chance you’ll become or remain a successful leader. You want to connect with the right people. Because knowing the best 3 people is better than connecting with 100 people in your organization that can’t help you get anywhere.
  • Evaluate your network’s value. Does it consist of valuable people? Coworkers who hold power? Who in your network knows the right people? Based on these insights, you’ll know how to proceed in terms of people you need to get to know, work with, etc.
  • Be astute. In order to overcome office politics, you need to be aware. In order to know what’s going on, you need to finetune your ability to observe situations. If you can “read” the room before a negative incident occurs, you may be able to sidestep getting involved or even neutralize the situation.
  • Practice this skill in your meetings. Don’t focus only on what people are saying; hone in on their body language to get a sense of what they’re feeling, too. In this way, you can actively listen without judging, and learn how to better understand where people are coming from and truly hearing their point of view.
  • Think before you act. It’s really easy to get sucked into office politics by reacting. You can successfully navigate events, however, if you think before taking action. Instead of saying what’s on your mind or offering a solution right away, take a moment. People will be more likely to respect you if they’re not on the defense. It’ll allow you to have challenging conversations with coworkers, get their support and grow your own influence in the world of office.To begin, monitor your reactions over the next few weeks. Where did you respond impulsively? What triggered feelings of fear, anger or protection? Did you notice any repercussions from these actions? Take note, and then reflect on areas where you need to improve your self-regulation.
  • Be impressive. It’s easy to get manipulated in office politics, but not if you’ve built trust amongst your coworkers and managers. Build your relationships on sincerity and honesty, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get people to trust you and have confidence in your ideas and decisions. This foundation of trust will also serve you well in office politics, as people will regard you as a credible connection and influence. Perhaps the best outcome: You’ll bypass getting sucked into complicated politics.

It’s just part of the job. It’s hard to get around dealing with office politics, but it’s not impossible. Build your network, evaluate its value, practice assessing the situation, think before you act, and be impressive. Want to boost your office reputation? Contact Kaplan Mobray for more information about career coaching.