6 Tips on How to Handle Office Politics

6 Tips on How to Handle Office Politics

Office politics – a harsh fact that every employee has to deal with regardless of organization or nature of work. Many of us thrive on it; others tend to avoid it. Nevertheless, it is an integral part of many office workplaces therefore it is imperative for you to understand your organization’s political landscape in order to prepare yourself for any untoward situations.

Getting caught up in an office drama can be overwhelming but cutting yourself off from what happens in the office can have an effect on your future progress in the company. According to a survey conducted by Robert Half International, two-thirds of workers said involvement in office politics is at least somewhat necessary to get ahead today. The key, however, is to keep in touch with the dynamics of your workplace without having to get drawn into the dirty game that is of office politics.

For this purpose, it is necessary for one to be aware of the political players in the office in order to know how to work with them. Below is a rundown of who these players are:

The Gossip Hound

This person thrives on gossip and is mostly found at the water cooler, talking about the latest juicy piece of information retrieved. At best, such people can be a somewhat credible source of information. Yet, it is still advisable for you to maintain your distance and to not say anything that you don’t want spread to other people.

The Credit Thief
Wherever there is credit due for effort on a certain project, this person is the first on the scene. He/she loves the limelight and tends to take all the credit for something that he/she might not have done. When it comes to working with this person, be sure to document the tasks done by each person in your team. Keep your supervisor in the loop about what’s going on and don’t hesitate to correct any misconceptions about who did what.

The Sycophant
When it comes to paving the way for success, this person knows no boundaries. He/she will engage in excessive flattery and sycophancy with anyone who is in a position of power, just so that he/she is given a chance to grow. If the Sycophant’s attention shifts to you, then it could be because he/she has a favor to ask from you.

Annoying as that may be to watch, don’t pay much thought to the Sycophant. Many managers are able to see through such shameless tactics and act accordingly. Just be sure to give praise to those who are deserving individuals, regardless of their position or designation in the company.

The Saboteur
This is a dangerous individual who loves to stir up conflicts through the blame game, ultimately making others look bad. Avoid interacting with this person as much as you can and stand your ground when the Saboteur’s tactics become apparent. Often, he/she will retreat if confronted.

How you handle sensitive workplace dynamics can make or break your professional prospects. But navigating office politics doesn't have to be complex. More than anything, it simply involves common sense, courtesy and compromise. Showcase your savvy by carefully observing your office environment -- and the players who make up the scene -- without getting mired in political pitfalls.


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