As much as we don’t want to admit, office politics exist in most, if not all, workplaces. There might be different ways people participate in corporate politics, but, the end goal remains the same: to obtain a position of status and power in the workplace. What is office politics? Certain actions and behaviours like favouritism by supervisors, managers, and people in the position of power, and gossiping and spreading rumours amongst coworkers can be categorised as office politics.
As a woman in the workplace, it might often feel daunting and overwhelming to navigate a negative environment like this, especially if you are a part of a male-dominant industry. It is no secret that women are often at the receiving end of some bias because of the gender-driven patriarchal society. If you have often found yourself wondering about workplace politics, you are looking for ways on how to deal with corporate politics and mostly, with the stress of working in an environment where this behaviour is rampant. If you’ve been thinking about how to handle corporate politics like a pro, you have come to the right place.
Different Forms Of Office Politics & Tips On Handling Them Smartly
1. Be More Aware Of The People You Work With
Every organisation has some individuals who have a reputation of stirring up trouble. To successfully navigate your way through office drama, it is important to be aware of the dynamics in the office and the people you work with. You have to maintain your distance from people who are known to gossip and participate in corporate politics. But at the same time, remember to be courteous and civil with them in your interactions. You do not have to be curt or rude with them, but instead, avoid getting sucked into their circle and becoming a part of their conversations. Protect yourself from their manipulations and their gossip.
2. Build A Strong Network
Just like you should stay away from people who are known to indulge in office politics, you should associate yourself with people who could mentor you and guide you to a brighter future. Try to look outside of just your immediate coworkers and teams and get to know people from all across the organisation. Do not be afraid of the difference in hierarchy between you and them. The important part is to build good connections based on mutual interests and goals. Build a network of people who will support you and your work. But be careful to not resort to fake flattery.
3. Do Not Pick Sides
There might be times when you find yourself in the middle of a debate or a discussion where you are asked for your opinion. If the topic at hand is a personal conflict between other people, and if the outcome does not affect you or your work in any way, refrain from picking sides. Remain professional and neutral and do not try to resolve their conflict for them. While staying friendly to both sides, try to create an open channel of communication for the two people or groups, so that they can work out their differences on their own.
4. Become Irreplaceable
An excellent way to get some immunity from all the gossiping and the drama is to gradually work your way towards becoming a Subject Matter Expert (SME) at what you do. This allows your supervisors to trust you with a little more independence. You won’t have to continually work in groups or rely on someone else for getting your job done. Become an advisor or an SME in your field and your organisation will make you a key employee. You will be recognised for your contribution, making you and your work the only contributing factor of your success. You will soon become an irreplaceable asset for your organisation and will be on your way to the top in no time!
5. Know That You Always Have A Choice
Negativity, name-calling, and hearing rumours about yourself are never easy. But at the end of the day, remember that you still have an option of staying positive and not letting others’ opinions of you affect you and your work. This is one of the biggest secrets to winning at office politics. Excelling at what you do requires you to not only consistently put in the time and hard work, but also choose your reactions to everything that is happening around you. When you are more aware of yourself and your surroundings, you know what is worth your time and energy. Consciously choose not to let the circumstances around you affect you and bring you down. Focus only on your work and try not to let the drama and negativity of others impact your productivity and morale.
- Even though there is often no way to avoid workplace drama altogether, by keeping a few things in mind, you will gradually learn how to handle corporate politics
- The important thing to remember is to set yourself apart and create an identity for yourself
- Do not align yourself closely with any person or group of people who are often involved in office politics
- Focus on yourself and your work and stay away from personal conflicts and debates that might arise at your workplace
- Put your efforts in consistently delivering high-quality work on time and this will help you gain the trust of your seniors and your managers