Office politics could almost play out like national politics with all the intrigues and schemes in place. Office politics can be mild, and it can be vicious because it largely has to do with power struggles. In fact, it’s bound to play out one way or the other as a mild or vicious drama between one or two persons or between a team and the management, and there could be casualties and fatalities if things really go unchecked. You could be caught in the vortex of office politics and you could be lucky to stay aloof and watch things unfold with bemused amusement. Whatever the case, there are ways to deal successfully with office politics or you might end up being a casualty in spite of the fact that you’re detached and watching from afar.
To start with, why do people engage in office politics?
– Office politics is bound to occur because some people are naturally more powerful and well-placed than others in terms of education, position, influence, and corporate abilities.
– Most people seek for promotions at all costs and this might cause a misalignment between them and others or between them and the interests of their project team.
– Conflicts are naturally created when workers see how management decisions and policies impact upon their personal goals and factors.
– Project teams and individual workers are always competing for scarce resources, and this tend to set them against one another despite the fact that this internal and veiled conflict might not result in the greater good.
How to manage or deal with office politics
The first step to dealing with office politics is to accept the fact that it is bound to happen in any corporate settings where ambitious people are involved – where individuals, teams, and managements are seeking personal or impersonal interests. You therefore need to see things in a positive light and develop strategies for managing things for your personal good and that of the business organisation.
– Sit back to see who the power-brokers and influencers are, and how they use their powers or influences to orchestrate things. For instance, you must decide who the power-brokers and influencers are; those that have organisational powers but wouldn’t exercise it; the thought-leaders and the mentors; the movers and shakers in the organisation.
– Understand the information network and the social networks. You must know who relates with who; groups that were formed based on whatever lines; the parties involved in office conflicts; difficult workers that can’t relate with others; the basis and platform of interrelationships; and how things flow between parties and teams.
– You must then learn to build relationships by learning to listen carefully and maximising the bridges you have built with people.
– You must also understand how to neutralise unfavourable ploys or plays, and know how to manage your own reactions and behaviours.
When you are able to utilise the above-listed tips with disciplined maturity and great understanding of people, you will come out tops and always a winner in any office politics involving you or others you favour.
Photo credits: Kai Hendry