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Office Politics: How to Play the Right Way

It really is unavoidable. Every office has their version of “office politics” and to some degree everyone has to play their part.

We’ve all seen the employee who seems to get promoted and entrusted with more responsibility – yet you’re scratching your head wondering, “why this guy”? His skill set doesn’t seem strong enough, yet he somehow manages to keep getting the boss’ attention. It’s frustrating to see someone succeed on political savvy over actual ability.

Office politics don’t have to be all bad - and being true to yourself, honest, and ethical will always make you a winner.

  • Be a trusted colleague. Play by the rules. Build trust and alliances by sharing credit for successes with your team and following through on what you say you’ll do.
  • Stick to the facts. Avoid being sucked into office gossip. Focus on doing a great job and avoid playing games in an attempt to get ahead. Seek out other low-drama, high-results employees.
  • Bite your tongue! Think before you speak, know that what you say will usually be repeated to others, and keep your composure. Determine the end-result of your actions before you act. The thought of really putting someone in their place might offer immediate gratification, but know that you’ll likely lose credibility, be seen as unprofessional, and it will take a lot of time to rebuild support after that brief outburst.
  • Be polite. Because being nice does matter.
  • Know your office culture. It’s important to get a feel for the office culture before you accept a job. Once you’re on the job it’s imperative that you are on a team or in a company of like-minded individuals. You don’t always have to agree, but you’re spending a big chunk of your life with these people; spend it in a culture in which you believe and enjoy!
  • Know when to seek help. In the unfortunate case you do work with a truly problematic person, try to resolve the issue cordially. When all else fails, seek the assistance of your manager or your company’s HR director.

Sure, office politics exist in every office. But, they usually don’t define it. There’s no need to engage in the drama. Your good work, good attitude, and good reputation will keep you out of the fray!