Politics in the workplace are a common thing in most organizations. But how to deal with them? Read on to find out…
Workplace politics are just one of the many challenges in the workplace and are one of the most stressful parts of jobs. From backstabbing bosses to coworkers who try to sabotage your work, relationships and power are tightly knit in the workplace. Many of us will be affected by office politics at some point in our lives. According to author Marilyn Haight of BigBadBoss.com, office politics “is the use of one’s individual or assigned power within an employing organization for the purpose of obtaining advantages beyond one’s legitimate authority.” People engage in workplace politics to reap financial, emotional, and even physical rewards. Those who engage the most vigorously often have significant unmet needs, a specific agenda, a desire for power, and the ability to forgo ethics and integrity in order to get what they want. Read this blog to find out how to deal with politics at the workplace.
So if you are dealing with sly workers and cunning bosses, here’s how to cope up with them tactfully:
Play, but play fair
If you want to deal with politics at the workplace, realize courtesy, respect, politeness, and office etiquette start and end with you. Show your coworkers kindness, and encourage them to do the same. The best way to cultivate power is to help others achieve their objectives. Reciprocity — the belief that they owe you their support — is a powerful force. Sometimes the game of office politics can get downright nasty, and there’s nothing you can do but get in the ring. But before the fur starts to fly, focus on the issue, not the person. Address behaviors, never the individual. Handle confrontations privately, fairly, and without judgment.
To fix a toxic work culture, you need to get involved. Studies show that when people feel they don’t belong in a group, their physical health and wellbeing plummets — so, if you’re feeling isolated or excluded by negative office politics, it makes sense to try to make friends. If one person at work is the main source of conflict, the best way to deal with them is to unite with your co-workers.
Keep your cool
Nothing that happens at the office is worth a heart attack. In the big scheme of things, will the issue matter in a week? A month? A year? As you keep these things in perspective, you will also be less prone to turning incidents into catastrophes. To deal with politics at the workplace, strive for equanimity at all times. Never lose your calm and cool because nothing that happens is going to matter after a period of time. Make sure to keep your physical and mental health your priority.
Forgive and forget
The most important aspect to keep in mind while dealing with office politics is the fact that you need to forgive the individuals and forget about the incident. Holding grudges against each other is going to make things worse in the long run and create an unhealthy environment for working. If you’ve been maligned, candidly address the issue at the source. Then shake hands and move on. Returning fire will serve only to damage your own reputation.
Document your work
When you are subject to colleagues’ political tactics — such as taking credit for your work — it’s important not to retaliate. It’s tempting to expose the co-worker or boss in front of others, but this can backfire. You need to be cleverer than that: Make sure you document your work thoroughly and let co-workers and your bosses’ superiors know what you are doing and have done. This protects your reputation: if your work ethic is called into question by colleagues, you then have a way to prove your productivity.
Don’t sink or drop your level
When colleagues try to make you look bad or undermine you, it’s tempting to do likewise. However, this can backfire: you may come across as petty and is unlikely to change your boss or co-worker’s behavior. A better way to deal with difficult colleagues is to ask them for a private conversation. Calmly ask them why they acted how they did, rather than accusing them. This is often the best way to change behavior, as it requires them to reflect on their actions.
Change the culture from within
Office politics should be looked at as something that can be reframed into a positive. You should work to contribute to the culture at your company that values people and discourages abusing people in any form. The best way to do this is to praise others, encourage teamwork, and be empathetic to your co-workers. By making an effort to change the culture to one of kindness and honesty, you can create a better environment for everyone.
Accept the fact that office politics happen in every workplace. If you spend all of your time worrying about water-cooler chatter, you’ll never have time to manage your own projects. Some degree of complacency will keep you sane. If your job is a hub of office politics and makes it difficult for you to do your job well, it’s not worth the hassle. Try looking out for better opportunities with a healthier work environment.
Politics in every workplace are common these days. But it depends upon you on how you react to it and cope up with it. It is always about a healthy working environment, but not at the expense of physical or mental distress!
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