Executive Coaching Articles

Surviving Office Politics

Office politics can be either a positive or negative influence on your career. If you aren’t successful in dealing with it, you can lose your job, get demoted or be alienated from key projects or people. If you are successful in dealing with politics, you can gain access to key influential players inside the company and even gain a promotion.

Do you want to advance in your company, create more success, increase your responsibility and work on high profile projects? Do you want to be top of mind when company executives create their succession plan? Then you must learn how to survive the office politics that exist in your company and group.

Here are five ways to survive office politics and put the power of politics to work for you:

  1. Be liked. If you look around at the people who play the political game the best, they are the ones who get everyone to like them. The first key is getting people to like you, make sure they feel you are on their side. When you are liked, people are less inclined to battle you when the politics start to involve you or your work. When you get along with people, it makes it easier for others to support your ideas.
  2. Keep it professional at all times. No matter how frustrated, irritated or short-tempered you become, it’s vital you keep your professional composure. Things will affect you at work that you don’t want to react to and lose yourself. Remember that part of the political game is keeping yourself level headed and composed.
  3. Don’t whine and complain. It’s easy to complain about management, your boss, other people, your workload, deadlines and projects. Also, you will find many others who will join you in the complain game because it’s a nice release and feels good to find others who share your frustrations. However, whining and complaining is a passive approach that is about standing on the sidelines and judging versus proactively working toward eliminating the cause of the problem
  4. Don’t make enemies or burn bridges. There will be people at work you won’t like or respect. It’s important to not let this affect your ability to get along with them. It’s easy to make enemies or have someone not like you or you not like them. However, this makes your job more difficult and just expands the work politics that already existed.
  5. Don’t make others look bad. Making others look bad brings work politics to an elevated level. Most of the time, you don’t consciously try make someone look bad. However, you can be careless or not aware of the impact of your actions on others. Actively try to make people look good because this will come back and look favorably on you.