The Top Five Tips to Conquer Office Politics

Posted 1st Jul 2015

Office politics: “the ways that power is shared in an organisation or workplace, and the ways that it is affected by the personal relationships between the people who work there.” (Collins’ Dictionary) Avoid it as much as you like but office politics will steamroll its way into your working life and not always with the positive impact one would hope for.

Workplace politics can become a bit of a minefield and can land perpetrators in a sticky situation. The best way to cope with office politics is to have a plan and stick to it. Here are the Ibell Recruitment & Staffing top five tips to conquer office politics.

1. Don’t perpetuate the rumour mill

Being a party to an exceptionally juicy piece of information does not mean that you must share it! Gossip, rumours, and unsubstantiated news flies round an office at break-neck speed, do your utmost to ensure you don’t get caught up in it. Don’t forward emails, don’t take part in water cooler gossip, don’t have out-of-work conversations about news you shouldn’t be a party to. Okay, in a gossipy world this may sound difficult, but taking the high ground will help keep your focus on your work and your nose clean.

2. Talk straight, but be a diplomat

In every relationship one maintains it is vital that honesty and openness play immense parts in communication. Talking straight to colleagues will win you respect and the reputation as someone that can be relied on to give an honest opinion. There is no better way of avoiding the pitfalls of office politics than by being honest (but diplomatic) with your colleagues. Become known as the person people can turn to for a straight answer and elevate your standing in your company.

3. Be a good example

There is little point espousing the detriments of office politics if you are the heart of the office political network. Lead by example (whether you are a leader in your organisation or not), be the perfect employee/management/owner representative, don’t perpetuate rumours, don’t have a multi-faceted head (two-faced) and set the standards. In a gossipy office this can be hard, but in the long-term your moral high ground will win through.

4. Be everyone’s friend

This can be the toughest of our five tips to achieve, but being on good terms with everyone will make your working life (and the lives of your colleagues) a very pleasant experience. Yes, there will be times when tempers are frayed and people don’t see eye-to-eye on every matter, but in an adult work environment, team members should be able to talk openly, honestly, and politely to overcome differences without issues descending into political turmoil. Resolve differences quickly and don’t let them go unchecked.

5. Choose to stay out of politics

The last tip is the most obvious and most important. It is your choice to become involved in the politics of your office, so make the conscious decision to stay out of the gossip, sniping and back-biting. Be the bigger person and avoid the water cooler chit-chat for everyone else.

Some people like to gossip, some don’t - you should already know which you should be. Office politics will never go away, it is a fact of working life. It can be a huge benefit, but is can also act detrimentally to those not paying attention. It can demoralise a workforce, negatively affect productivity, bring untold stress and impact every facet of a business. Conversely, it can bring teams closer together, generate a stimulating working environment and bring about imaginative collaborations. Office politics are here to stay, just make sure you make them work to your benefit and to the benefit of your colleagues.

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