When most people hear the words workplace politics they automatically think backstabbing, rumours and sucking up. It’s most likely the last thing you need in your bid to be stress-free and mentally healthy.
While it would be a lot easier to avoid it or leave the organisation where its happening. You’re probably going to find it in every organisation and at every level. However, you can handle workplace politics without compromising your integrity or your values. It’s all about understanding how it works and using it to your advantage.
There is such a thing as good workplace politics and it can help you further your career. I know it sounds unlikely, but hear me out first. Practising good workplace politics is possible and can advance your career faster than playing dirty can. All you need to do is know your onions, which is what I’m about to help you understand.
Here are a few tips to know when dealing with workplace politics.
Understand where the real power lies
This requires a bit of time and observation, take in your office environment and assess everyone. While job titles tend to indicate where the formal power lies, the real power isn’t on any charts. Take some time to find out who really calls the shots, who is the guardian and who is the brain behind the operation. This will help you understand how things really work in your organisation.
Understand the social set up
Here you’re looking for the social grouping and clique setting. Who gets along with who, how do they interact? Who is everyone’s friend and who likes to keep to themselves? This will also help you understand how and where you fit in and can be useful. Finding your niche in every organisation is important for bonding and building work relationships.
Connect with others
This is the next step to establishing roots and forging bonds in the workplace. It can also be used as an asset to help you climb up the ladder. This isn’t about being fake, this is about finding people who are like you and connecting with them. These people are the ones who will stand in for you and give you information when you need it.
Use those connections
Now after you’ve connected with these people, you probably want to sell yourself. Talk about what your abilities are beyond your normal job description. Let them know what other values you bring into the workplace asides what you’re assigned to. They might have reason to recommend you for other roles when the need arises.
Get to know the politics
While you might be tempted to avoid the people who practice bad politics, don’t be too hasty. These people can give you the information you need while they are being manipulative. So get to know them and have conversations with them. But it is important to be smart about this as they can use your words to their advantage.
Be an agent for positivity in your office by diffusing any negative politics. Avoid passing on any information you’re unsure of and be sure to correct any wrong impressions. People will realise you’re a neutral party and be willing to trust you. Another plus side to this is that you move up the ladder faster because you’ll have a lot of good recommendations.
Increasing your political intelligence can help you navigate through workplace politics easily. It doesn’t mean you have to turn into a manipulative person, it just means you’ll be more cautious and observant.