Dealing with Coworkers and Office Politics

Unfortunately, because work puts us in an environment where people have to work and achieve certain goals, the achievement of these goals and their means to achieve them can often lead to situations where people and their ways of doing things can clash with each other. It is in such an environment that office politics, a form of politics, is born.  Politics can be thought of using indirect methods via interactions with others to achieve goals.  These methods may often not be the most optimal method, but exist due to one entity having more power than another entity. In the office, this can be a huge source of stress, as people must face this type of non-optimal method of achieving goals every day.  To minimize the effect of office politics on your health and to try to achieve goals more optimally, there are certain precautions you can follow:

Be friendly to all.   Even if impressions tell you that you do not like a certain person, try to not think about that. Don't judge.  Just think that that person is just another person trying their best to live in this world.  Their previous history may have made them the less admirable that they are, and there is no reason to be unhappy with them.  Just treat him like any other person.  Treat with courtesy, respect, and dignity. In this way, you will not inadvertently offend anyone, which is crucial since anyone at your workplace could potentially sabotage you or your work. This is not to say that you do not need to be assertive when someone crosses their boundary, but it is important to be civil about any trespasses. Indeed, try to forget trivial matters and concentrate on your own work. 

Accommodate where possible.  Often, coworkers may ask certain favors of you or ask you to go out for a coffee or some other event.  If at all possible, try to accommodate this because they may actually become angry if you refuse their invitation, and not tell you that they are angry. However, if it is not possible to accommodate, do cite the reason for being unable to grant them that favor.

Do not gossip.  Try not to gossip about other people or company policies in the office.  If a coworker starts the gossiping, adroitly steer the conversation in some other direction.

Minimize office politics where possible.  If it is possible to choose where you work, there are several factors that you may want to pay attention to, since they can influence the amount of office politics. For example, the smaller the unit or company, the less office politics.  This is quite self-explanatory because, for example, if there are only two people in the office, that other person cannot gang up on you with other people since there are only two people there in the first place. Another factor is the amount of work needed to be done. In general, the more work, the less office politics because people just don't have the time to engage in that kind of pettiness.  Finally, one other critical factor is the proximity of the boss.  The closer the boss is to its employees or subordinates, the less office politics that can occur. Again, quite self-explanatory.

Be aware of what's going on in your workplace.  Just because you don't like office politics or you are not engaging in it, does not mean that it is not taking place.  Be aware of what is happening around you and how it may impact your work.  For example, if the business in your company is not going so well lately, or there may be a slowing down in your sector, you may quite possibly be fired.  However, you can minimize your own chance of being fired by being prepared for any negative talking about your position or department, and taking the necessary steps to ensure that they know that your position is essential to the company.

Do your job well.   If you do your job well and with sincerity, you will succeed.  You will not need office politics to help you succeed (or at least need it to a much less extent).  Therefore, do your job well, and hopefully you will influence other people at your workplace to do likewise.

In summary, to be office politically-competent, you should take heed of the following advice:

A. Be friendly to all.

B. Accommodate where possible.

C. Do not gossip.

D. Minimize office politics where possible.

E. Be aware of what's going on in your workplace. 

F. Do your job well.

Life Skills > Work Skills > Dealing with Coworkers and Office Politics


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Last Checked 2015