office politics

How to Stay Above Board in Office Politics

Unfortunately, office politics occur in most companies. When people spend the majority of their waking hours together vying for the same raises, competition is inevitable. A survey of over 1000 workers revealed that just over half participate to some degree in water cooler activities. Three-quarters believed that their office politicking is a means of getting ahead. However, there are numerous pitfalls to getting swept up in office politics.  So, what steps can you take to prevent your career from being damaged by negative office politics?

Steer Clear of Gossip

It can be tempting to get caught up in the rumor mill in the break room. Despite these temptations, it is best to refrain:

  • Although, rumors about corporate and department changes may be well founded. It’s better to listen, gaining information without becoming engaged.
  • Stay away from the personal side of things. Others’ lives and choices outside of the workplace best remain there.

Beware of the Constant Flatterer

Strike a balance between sincere compliments and gratitude and use of flattery as a ploy for position. Astute colleagues know the difference and can become dismissive of people with this calculating behavior.

Communicate Consistently

Clear, consistent communication is an effective way of navigating office politics while maintaining integrity.

  • Keep pace with managers’ preferred communication methods, be it email, phone, in person, or a variety.
  • Be true to yourself, your role, and assuring your responsibilities are fulfilled effectively.
  • Rely on effective listening skills to be clear about others’ messages.
    • Doing so avoids confusion, especially about more controversial issues that lead to rumors.
  • Hold your ground when and where it matters, doing so clearly and graciously.

Give Credit Where Due

Act in an above-board manner on behalf of your team’s creators, innovators, and mentors.

  • Doing so helps to counter the office politics actions of those who take credit for others’ work.
  • Giving sincere credit where due shows your respect for colleagues and your mutual work.

Office politics can change an awesome job into something you dread very quickly. So keep yourself above gossip and remembering why you are there — to create value.