How to turn the tables on office politics
Would you believe me if I told you that office politics is a boon for your personal growth as an employee?
Well, you probably won’t.
Not just yet.
But once you know how to play politics to your advantage without compromising ethics, you’d surely agree.
So here are the master moves which can help you survive organizational politics and shine in your career.
Employees often presume that office politics is unethical and unwanted. They dread the thought of any informal associations at the workplace.
But there’s nothing wrong with building great friendships within the informal network in your workplace.
Go out for drinks with colleagues and your seniors. Invite people from work to a game night or a barbeque evening. Invite your boss to important formal occasions such as your wedding.
Everyone likes being around a friendly person, and there’s no harm in being likable!
Don’t hesitate to engage in informal conversations at the workplace.
A light-hearted chat can work wonders for breaking the ice with a difficult client or an unfriendly colleague. Add some intelligent humor, and you have the recipe for calm in the most intense atmosphere.
Be bold enough to strike a chord with your clients while waiting for a meeting to start. Think of a topic that’s not controversial. Talk about the latest movie or national economics.
This way, you’ll be lending plenty of positive vibes while putting yourself at ease before an important presentation.
Build a Good Rapport with Your Boss and Seniors
Many people struggle with a personal rapport with their boss and seniors. If you belong to this category, it’s about time you changed your ways a little.
Being naive and overly submissive won’t make you the star employee anyway.
So, feel free to socialize and interact informally with your seniors too. I’m not suggesting you learn horse riding if your boss loves horses! Just try to find a common interest amongst everyday things – maybe books, theater, art, or sports.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Informal Networking
Networking is where the essence of office politics lies. Making friends outside your team and expanding your social network can be immensely fruitful for your career.
Build connections horizontally, vertically, and diagonally – all across the organization chart.
Once you’re in the circle of powerful and influential people, things will automatically work to your advantage. You’ll get invaluable support in the form of mentorship and guidance. Sometimes even a casual tip can crack the code for lifetime success.
How and how well you build your connections matter a lot. You should know that superiors and managers are smart enough to see past smooth talks and flattery.
Be sincere and don’t lose your integrity trying to please others. Don’t engage in dirty politics and misuse your connections to spread rumors about other employees or talk negatively about your colleagues.
Develop an Understanding of Human Nature
Making friends and connections is easier than maintaining those relationships long term.
You need to develop a good understanding of human behavior and hone your people skills slowly and gradually.
Learn to be patient. Practicing relaxation techniques can help you check on your reactions if there’s a trigger at the workplace.
Empathize with others. Observe their behavior and try to understand their emotions to avoid conflicts.
Don’t Shy Away from Talking About Your Work
Don’t be comfortable being a “nobody” at your office. Don’t wait for your strengths to be discovered by your manager or superior. That may never happen.
If you’re good at what you do, you should be confident enough to let everyone know about it. When you think you can make an impact, ask your manager to give you a chance to prove your credentials.
Your Game Is On
Don’t run away from office politics. Embrace it.
Take initiative. Be proactive. Be a live wire. And very soon you’ll be ahead of the game.