Tips to survive workplace politics

Ace the game like a pro.

Harper's Bazaar India

You might enjoy your work and like the organisation, but you may not necessarily enjoy the office politics and the people involved in it, who suck the joy out of you. You may love the gossip and drama, but want to stay as far and uninvolved as possible in the politics. You can love it or hate it but you can’t ignore it! If you want to enjoy the best seats in the house and maybe even try to take advantage of it, here’s what you need to do to swim and not sink when it comes to office politics. 

It takes nothing to be kind

Conduct yourself professionally. Be cordial, courteous, respectful, and polite, and set an example of how office etiquette should be. This positive energy, if transmitted to others, only results in the betterment of the workplace. Also, learn how to stay cool and calm under pressure. What is urgent today, won’t matter tomorrow, so don’t take things so seriously that tasks lead to accidents. 

And lastly, when you do communicate, make an earnest effort to do so without any agenda. It shows a genuine desire that you want to support others and grow together. 

Stay neutral, but stand up for what’s right

A way to successfully navigate office politics is to maintain a neutral stance when things get ugly. It might just avoid any further conflict and help stop the situation from getting worse. That said, you cannot sit on the fence or be biased when you make decisions. Always remember, you’re addressing the problem and the behaviour, not the individual. So fairly deal with things, without passing any judgment. When you know someone’s right or is being unfairly treated, it’s time to be vocal and make yourself heard. It will be seen as a display of strength and character. 

And if you are in the middle of it all, tackle the issue at source. Forgive and forget is the way to go as holding on to grudges and fighting fire with fire will only damage your equation with your colleagues, as well as your reputation. 

Do your best to be a reliable asset

Let your work and not your words do the talking at the office for it is the best way to avoid getting involved in office politics. If people know you’re reliable and will always ensure work gets done over the line, they’ll think twice before putting you under the bus. 

Keep things to yourself and always stay professional

The best way to avoid your colleagues taking advantage of you is to keep your personal life private. When anyone comes to you with gossip about someone or asks you to divulge information, end the conversation politely. Back to work, everybody! This is not to say you can’t be friendly. But know where to draw the line between personal and professional, and respectfully set boundaries.

Pick up new skills

No matter what your designation is, it’s always great when you choose to improve by developing new skills. When you step in and offer solutions, you’re not only respected among your peers but are less likely to fall victim to office politics. Along with the required skill set, having emotional intelligence, people management skills, and other interpersonal skills will ensure you navigate your way around office politics without much effort. 

Try to stay positive

Work can surely be physically and mentally exhausting, but always complaining about it, bums everyone's mood. Doing your best to understand what’s happening around you and talking about ways to resolve the situation works best for everyone. Staying positive also plays an instrumental role in you being more liked among your colleagues and coming across as approachable. 

Make people feel included 

Be a team player—be open to not only sharing your ideas but also ask for your colleagues's opinion and inputs. It will go a long way in avoiding office politics. Make your workspace about inclusion and collaboration.