How do I survive office politics?

There’s one part of working in an office environment that’s inevitable – office politics. From gossiping around the water cooler to people stepping on their co-workers to secure a promotion, it’s something that’s hard to avoid. Here are my best tips on how to survive office politics.

Disputes between co-workers

If a disagreement or tension arises between two of your co-workers, it can affect the entire office. In these situations, it is important that you don’t take sides. Taking one person’s side over the other could be harmful to your relationship, so try to objectively see the perspective of each party and understand what they are feeling. If you become involved in the dispute, then remaining objective can really help with conflict resolution.

Disputes you’re involved in

When there’s an issue that you’re directly involved in, it takes a lot of tact, patience, and understanding to navigate the situation without negative results. Firstly, it’s important to tackle the issue head on rather than trying to ignore it. Talk to the person you have concerns with before going to a senior figure so that it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to throw them under the bus. When you discuss the issue, try not to make things personal. Focus on what happened and how it made you feel rather than making it a personal attack.

Build relationships, don’t break them

Successful office politics is about forming relationships with those that can help you and your career. The way you go about this is important. Focus on your own relationships with others and what you can do to improve them rather than trying to tear down your colleagues and their relationships with one another. So, you should avoid getting involved in malicious gossip and forms of manipulation in the workplace.

While you may not be able to avoid office politics completely, you can navigate them in a positive way that won’t lead to a toxic workplace environment. For more advice on this topic and more, follow me on Twitter or get in touch for more information about my coaching services.