People plus office equals politics: how to be a winner


Office politics are a reality, whether your company has two employees, two hundred, or twenty thousand.

It’s an inevitable part of business life—wherever there are people there will friendships, alliances, power struggles, competition, misunderstandings, and gossip. Understanding and accepting office politics as an unavoidable reality of life is the first step in mastering them.

Win the game by watching your own “office politics” and following these simple tips.

1. Keep communicating.

Nothing creates or enhances gossip as much as speculation about someone perceived as a lone wolf.

Think of your communications as press releases. Maintaining a good work relationship with your coworkers means keeping in constant contact with them. Don’t ostracize yourself with silence or poor communication.

2. Avoid gossip.

Communication doesn’t mean gossip.

If you happen to be in a discussion and the tide suddenly turns to gossip about another worker, don’t participate, and don’t criticize anyone for gossiping. Simply depart as gracefully as you can.

If you can’t leave the situation because it’s initiated by a superior, resist the urge to offer up your opinion—even if it’s positive or in defense of the person under attack. It might be a test, and whatever you utter will most certainly be remembered.

3. Don’t complain.

An office contains a myriad of inequities which can irritate the best of us. Don’t bemoan them.

If you have a legitimate complaint, make sure you take it to someone who can do something about it, and phrase it so you don’t sound like you’re whining. Propose alternatives, and offer to implement the change, if feasible.

Be the worker who does his or her job tirelessly, without fail, and with a minimum of fuss.

4. Keep the peace.

Keep the peace in your sphere of influence.

Sometimes discussions and gossip can escalate to the point that they become heated arguments. Quench them before the fire ignites, and avoid hot, controversial topics and debates.

Always think of the greater goal of uniting your office as a team rather than dividing it.

5. Focus on similarities.

Differences among office workers are easy to spot and define. You may not like someone simply because he or she is perceived as different.

What about the things you have in common? Focus on those things and use them as a stepping stone to build better relationships.

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