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5 Ways to Tactfully Navigate Workplace Politics

 

Workplace politics: they are rampant in every place you’ll ever work. In offices, the hospitality industry, even for freelancers. It doesn’t seem to matter what your role, industry, or environment, there will always be some form of workplace politics with which to contend.

If you can’t fight it (or live in denial), it’s important to learn how to deal with gossip, political factions, and infighting at work. In some instances, staying out of the fray is best; in others, staying removed can lead to being passed over for promotions. There’s a balance between contributing to the nasty side of workplace politics and standing up for your hard work and reputation. Here’s how to walk that line.

1. Find Your People

When it comes to dealing with difficult people at work, it’s always good to have someone on your side. This doesn’t mean you’re building an army to fight dirty, but rather finding people to get along with who can support your career and see the big-picture.

Your people are there to vent with and release some of the stress that builds up in an office environment. Find a mentor who can support you if you’re being targeted by high level politics. They should be there to guide you through managing expectations, finding the right allies, and rising above workplace politics before they drag you down.

Knowing you have a team beside you makes dealing with the everyday politics a bit easier.

2. Document Your Work and Time

There are many different ways that workplace politics can get you down; two big ones are when someone takes credit for your work, or when a naysayer claims you haven’t been pulling your weight.

Don’t let workplace vultures wear you down. Document nearly every way you contribute to bettering your company and meeting your expectations. Accurately record your breaks, what you’ve been working on, any issues you’ve run into. Mark down if you’ve had a negative interaction with someone, including time, date, and a brief description of what was said. A time tracker or a task-list tool can combine your to-do list with a digital record of your productivity.

By having accurate records, you’ve armed yourself with the information you need if you ever get dragged into a political situation. Best case scenario? You have plenty of ammunition the next time you ask for a raise or have a yearly performance review.

3. Take the High Road

If you hear one of your colleagues has been talking badly about you to their friends or your bosses, it’s so important not to stoop to their level. Don’t turn negative and start saying all the bad things you can think of to them; this just makes you look like the bad guy.

Similarly, if one of your colleagues has sandbagged you — that is, deliberately underperformed so that you look bad (on a team project for example) — try praising them on what work they have done rather than calling them out on what work they haven’t. By taking a positive approach, you can still turn the attention onto your underperforming colleague, allowing others to discern for themselves where the shortcoming originated.

4. Get to Know the Social Circles

Part of navigating workplace politics is knowing who the players are — and what motivates them. Regardless of whether your workplace has an official organizational structure, there’s likely going to be an informal pecking order. Take the time to pay attention to who really has sway and who really makes the decisions. Likewise, pay attention to any cliques or tight knit social circles. Office gossip is abundant and tends to originate in clique situations.

Some parts of office politics are relatively benign: and you can participate by showing your face at after-work happy hour or bringing in bagels every once in a while. Doing the little things that make everyone’s day pleasant doesn’t have to come with a political motivation. You can be friendly with the people in these circles without getting involved in drama.

5. Rise Above the Negative

If you hear negative or untrue rumors, stay away. But that doesn’t mean staying away from gossip altogether.

Research shows that a little office gossip can be healthy: the more you and your coworkers communicate, the healthier your relationships. Trading information on your common relationships is a bonding experience, and regardless of the topic of conversation, you’re sharing something valuable and both benefiting from it.

That said: should office gossip take a turn for the negative, you need to speak up. Every time you need to navigate office politics, you’ll need to draw on your interpersonal skills. The ability to speak to others in a friendly and straightforward manner can help you become a recognized leader, and help prevent politics from becoming toxic.

Approach your colleagues privately and voice your concerns. Let mentors and allies know when someone is crossing the line. If it gets as far as discrimination or harassment, you have the right to stand up for yourself.

 

Source: clicktime.com

Collect by Minh Tien - Sapuwa