Coping with office politics

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Given how much time most of us spend at work, it’s not surprising that any organisation, regardless of size or structure, can be a breeding ground for office politics.

Companies that have problems with office politics will often have employees who engage in manipulative and bullying behaviour in order to get what they want. While this can start innocently enough, if left alone the impact of office politics can result in significant workplace stress and loss of productivity. To help you cope with office politics and avoid the detrimental effects that can occur, try following these top tips:

Avoid gossip

Mutterings around the water cooler can quickly rot a company’s culture. Participating in gossip sessions can also destroy your personal credibility very quickly. Always assume that anything negative you say will be repeated, so it’s best to remain noncommittal when asked your opinion.

Keep it businesslike

With the amount of time we all spend at work, the boundaries between business and your personal life can easily become blurred. While it’s important to try and get along with your colleagues, try and keep your relationships businesslike and concentrate on the job at hand. Nothing destroys productivity more quickly than dissent among the ranks.

Treating others as you expect to be treated may seem clichéd but can make all the difference in whether you work in a collaborative environment or one where everyone has their own agenda.

Have empathy for your colleagues

If a colleague is offhand with you, don’t automatically take offense. The individual may well be having a bad day or experiencing some personal issues. Equally, try and remain polite in your dealings with colleagues regardless of your personal circumstances.

Be open and honest

Make it clear to your colleagues that you do not wish to become involved in office politics from the start. It may be difficult to stand out from the crowd initially, but you will be ultimately respected for your stance. Your colleagues will also know that they can trust you.

Set the example

The only behaviour you have control of is your own. Treating others as you expect to be treated may seem clichéd but can make all the difference in whether you work in a collaborative environment or one where everyone has their own agenda.

Do what you say you’ll do

One of the quickest ways to engender mistrust is to fail to deliver on your promises. Deliver projects on time and keep all relevant colleagues in the communication loop.

Document

Should a sticky situation arise, having a written record of what happened can greatly help resolve the issue in your favour. If you think something might come back and become a problem, keep a written record of what really happened. Keep a record of your successes as well, as this can help when it comes to performance appraisal time.

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