Guide to Workplace Politics
Office or workplace Politics !!! Sounds familiar, right? You must have definitely faced it in some part of your professional life or maybe you are facing it even now? The extremely disturbing phenomenon in the workplace when you know your co-workers are talking against you or behind your back. Well, workplace politics is a part of your professional life, each one involved in corporate life might have faced issues where they actually do not understand whom to trust for they have no clue who is in their favor and who is against them.
Ok, let’s just first understand the meaning of workplace politics or politics at workplace.
This term can be simplified by calling it organizational politics or workplace politics, it is nothing but the use of social networking within the organization with the use of a power of designation by influencing individual or group of people for self-interest with no regards or intention of benefiting the organization. Well, it might include self-interest or personal advantages like a hike in the salaries or promotion by destroying a co-workers image at a workplace, personal grudge, dishonoring a competitor, or even simply for fun.
This factor at workplace starts with a simple to complicated manipulation. Manipulation of sharing the amount of information between relationships within the organization and making sure only the required information is leaked and spread. The motive might be a personal or professional advantage. Simple games are played within the organization to disturb and dishonor co-worker or co-workers for self-benefit or at times just for fun. These games are mind games to win a situation like a good promotion, a great salary hike, for leaders a divide and rule situation, etc.
How to understand you are trapped in workplace politics?
No organization, no company, does not have politics at a workplace, impossible to understand that. If you are fed up of this fact of the corporate world and intend to start your own organization to stay away from this dirty part of the corporate life, you are sadly mistaken but you will not have to face it. Even if you own an organization you will be willingly or unwillingly dragged into workplace politics. Yes, reasons might differ. The best way is to understand that you are being trapped or you are being targeted. Understand people are playing games with you to make sure they disturb you as an individual so that your performance is disturbed or maybe they simply want to disturb you mentally. Within the organization, a co-worker is gaming the system and you are a part of the game, maybe in the lead or the most important part.
Remember workplace politics is never in the favor of the organization for it is used attain personal goals, this situation can be very destructive for the organization as the employee falling a prey to this situations is unable to perform well as it is affecting him either personally or professionally and more likely mentally. Before you start handling politics around you make sure you understand that you are being trapped, the reason you are being trapped and who is trapping you.
Track on gossip
So your first step needs to be analyzing the political environment in your office. Keep a track on your co-worker’s gossip. Usually, there is one or maximum two dirty fishes in the pond. Keep a track on what your co-workers have been talking about and whom does it point to. Analyze and read between words and statements smartly. Keep a close track and make sure you are smart and talk less otherwise your co-workers might estimate you are keeping a watch.
Pay attention to rumors
Not everything that you get to here is true. Gossips may turn into rumors which might or might not be true. Maybe co-workers are trying to frame someone or target someone. Unless you know the facts or analyze the facts do not trust your co-workers or the gossip at work. The gossip might also be against you so make sure you do not share a lot of your information with your co-workers as this can be misused.
Find the origin
The origin is where it is coming from, which means where it is starting from. You need to know who has started the same and how far has the gossip gone. Once you know the origin it will be easy to understand which track is it going on and what does it target.
Every action has a target or a motive at a workplace and if it is to do with some kind of workplace politics it definitely has some hidden motive. Sometimes the motive is visible even if it is not told; however most of the times the motive is hidden. When trapped in such workplace situation you need to understand the motive behind the game. Once you have an idea about the motive you can play around or handle the situation better.
Once you are aware of facts like the type of gossip or politics within the office, the rumors, where does it all start the motive of the situation you need to know the target. You never know who the target is, what if the target is you, oh you better be careful a lot to come your way. Now in case, the target is you, you need to either deal with the situation the smart way by turning the game or playing the same game back to its origin or simply escaping the situation.
Once you know it has all started you should now know what is going to be your next step for the amazing situation created by co-workers. You now need to jot down the plan of handling the situation at your end for the ball is in your court.
Handling the situation is next
Every individual has different methods of dealing with workplace politics. Some people simply like or love their work they work and give a dam about whatever is going on amongst co-workers. Whereas some like getting in there and playing games with the others, some are very simple have no clue that they are being dragged into something they haven’t even dreamt off. Let’s see how we can handle such situations at our end. Here are few surviving workplace politics tips to avoid such situations.
Play the game
Now that you are out there and are playing the game make sure you play it right simply set a few rules
Make sure you are making the right choice of playing the game
Before you enter the game make sure that you are sure of playing the game. In case you change your mind later you will be the one that will be bad mouthed about amongst your co-workers. If you want to go out there and play it play it right till the end with a motive of winning the situation. Also, understand that workplace politics does lead to stress and discomfort you need to deal with as well.
Achievements of the game
Of course, if it is a game you play it with a motive of winning it. However what are you winning is important, do the politics include a motive like winning this year’s promotion or a good salary hike, or you want to divide two best co-workers so that you get the credit of divide and rule. You would definitely not want to get into workplace politics to simply peep into your co-worker’s personal life to simply enjoy it. Make sure your achievement motives are clear.
Make sure your influencing circle is apt
Either you start the politics or you are into a circle where the game is on. Mostly it is the circle. So when you are motivated or influenced by a circle of co-workers into the workplace politics make sure that the information passed on by them is correct or is wise enough to act on or use it the diplomatic way. The circle of co-workers, the information and the motive needs to be positive and not negative. Remember negative influence will pull you down and make you lose your interest in work and your company.
Do not support any co-worker
Workplace politics can get interesting and stressful both at the same time. Being careful is important in such situations you must never favor any co-worker or support a single person for the situation can go against you. If you want to talk in someone’s favor make sure you manipulate your words and deal with the situation diplomatically.
Being personal is a big NO
Being personal on any co-worker like using personal comments on him talking about his personal life or personal habits even behind his back is not the right way to play a game. Remember it is not good to pass personal comments it might also be against the ethical values of a number of companies if you are heard of passing personal comments you can be fired from the services of the organization. So play; however play it safe.
Be prepared as it can have a reverse effect
You are in a vicious circle, the games that you play on co-workers and management can come back on you as well. So make sure that you are prepared for the stress and face the music. If you have the efficiency you will handle it well by dealing with the situation diplomatically and giving it back.
Make sure you understand workplace politics before others understand you
To win the game you need to make sure you understand the game efficiently. To jump into political situations in the workplace you must have a complete idea of the entire situation and how to deal with it. You need to not just understand the situation you also need to understand people before they understand you and your next move. Yes, remember if there are players older players in the game they might just predict your next move. So you need to be smarter.
A game is played with simply one single motive Wining. All you need to make sure is that you get into the game with the motive of winning. Yes, it is a no looking back game as you will be the next target of your co-workers if you leave the game incomplete or halfway. Be strong and simply win your AIMs.
The above rules are definitely for people or employees working in the corporate world who are interested in dealing with workplace politics by getting into the game and playing it either by set rules of the games or setting their own rules for the game; however we have a number of simple people working in the corporate world who are genuinely not interested in the workplace politics neither are they interested in people involved in the mess. For people who simply want to avoid the situation a few tips given below.
Avoid the game and people involved in it smartly
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Do not ignore your co-workers completely
It is a diplomatic world; you cannot work alone as even you will need support. Make sure you do not ignore your co-workers. Do not get into the gossip; however, whenever there are concerns give your opinion if you are asked for one. Keep your communications very clear and to the point make sure that you are confirming you are not a part of the gossip.
Take assertive steps
In the best interest of the organization take necessary positive steps to make sure that the situation is not affecting work and the organizational atmosphere. Keep roles and agendas clear for each co-worker to avoid conflicts and political situations. Make sure you are not playing a favoritism game; if the same is sensed by any co-worker even you will be the one being dragged into the picture, which will be for no reason.
Follow what you preach
If you are sure you do not want to get engrossed in the workplace politics make sure you keep minimum interaction with the circle of influencing people. Do not entertain gossip, no favorites and do not criticize any decision made by the higher authorities so that you are not dragged into the situation and you will be the next set target for gossipers at your workplace.
This has a been a guide on how to deal with workplace politics. Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the workplace politics so just go through the link.