Office politics is inevitable we accept it or not.
Most business people view office politics as comprising negative workplace behaviours such as favouritism, back‐stabbing, avoidance and self‐interest. These behaviours are associated with power and status: those who have it, those who want it, and those who do not want to be hurt by it.
When people start working on their personal agenda more than the organisational goals they start drifting towards politicising everything. Their emotions such an insecurity, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and even incompetence forces them to play such games to ensure they stay powerful and influential within the organisation. Sometimes it is not even about being powerful but maintaining a relationship with powerful people.
Staying neutral always helps, but is it possible because it’s around us all the time and sometimes unknowingly we end up being a part of politics or victim of office politics. Remember effective politics isn’t about winning at all costs but about maintaining relationships while achieving results. Although often portrayed negatively, organizational politics are not inherently bad. Instead, it’s important to be aware of the potentially destructive aspects of office politics in order to minimize their negative effect.
It is also possible that we may not be part of any politics and might get perceived so. Hence after lot of research on this topic for my course, my recommendation is to develop four political skills to survive office politics effectively:
The ability to not only understand people but also to know when and what to speak. Generally at organisation level even if you have a greatest ideas it is very important to know how and where to share. Can you share with your boss who you know never fails to give you a credit or share with his senior in a skip level meeting? This is the decision you will have to take all the time.
Be Professional and neutral:
Chai and lunch break mates sometimes becomes a gossip group. Who is getting a salary increase to who is having an affair with a colleague are most discussed topics. Staying away from such conversation gets difficult sometimes but definitely not impossible. Stay away and focus on yourself. If you feel something is unethical do reach out to someone you trust to discuss.
Power and influence seems to part of every organisation politics. You will notice few “managers” who ought to look powerful. They can be from HR, Finance , sales or any department who assume to be most powerful and influential. Remember not to get swayed away and always go by the organisation chart when it comes to power and influence.
Openness, honesty, transparency and self‐confidence without arrogance can go a long way. There can be situation where you may feel like a victim of office politics but if you are genuine with clear intentions, you will be noticed by top management. Being genuine will also help you to work on the perception better.