Office politics is part and parcel of the workplace. Sometimes, you are left with no option but to navigate office politics smartly to fast-track your career.
It doesn’t mean that you need to jump right in and push your agenda. You need to prepare yourself carefully and know a good time to get involved. Also, you need to stay away from things that don’t matter to you.
Here are six ways to navigate office politics and emerge as a winner:
1Build on your influence
Being an influential personality within an organization is the first step toward winning office politics. An effective means of building your power is to focus on the business objective of the organization.
Try to become the dependable go-to person for certain things. When people ask for help, use this opportunity to make professional friends and alliances in the workplace.
Don’t share your private information with your office friends. However, do share non-confidential, work-related useful information that leaves an impression that you care for people and want to help them professionally.
2Build on your image
In politics, perception is everything. So they say! How do other employees view you? The image that you portray is imperative in winning office politics. Our image determines how others will interact with us.
You might have to make small sacrifices to build a trustworthy image of yourself. Also, avoid making promises that you can’t keep. If you are perceived as authentic and reliable, you are almost there.
The best way to create the right perception is to think of yourself as a television; whatever you do in office is being watched by everyone. This will make you responsible and prevent you from doing things that hamper your reputation.
3Avoid taking sides
In the case of conflict between two groups in the office, avoid being on any side. Rather, create a platform where both teams can communicate and resolve their concerns. If you can’t do this, then stay away from people who amplify such conflicts.
If required, stand up for the cause you strongly believe in and not for any side. People will see you as a person who can support the right cause. This will help in winning the confidence of colleagues.
Observe others and try to understand their reactions, attitude and behavior on important decisions of the company. All friendly people are not your friends.
Similarly, all those who oppose you are not your enemies. Understanding people is one of the most complex tasks. However, you need to observe your colleagues, bosses, and subordinates who regularly help you in making sound judgment. It will also assist you staying uninfluenced by office rumors.
5Avoid getting personal
Office politics can get nasty at times and you may feel angry. Anger may drive you to get personal. Under this kind of scenario, exercising self-control and restraint is critical. Uncontrolled anger may lead you to humiliate others. Moreover, things become uncontrollable once people forget the objective and become personal.
So try to be objective in your communication and avoid personal attacks.
6Don’t burn bridges
Do not have permanent enemies. Rather mend fences as fast as possible. Do not hold a grudge for long. Build bridges. Try to settle down the conflicts proactively. Never bring ego in the way of conflict resolution. Even if you don’t trust a person or hate a person, there’s no need to tell this to the person or anyone else. Be the nice guy.
7Define your goals
Warring factions characterize office politics, and in many instances, you will find yourself drawn into other people’s wars. Therefore, to avoid such kinds of situations, you must define a goal and stick to it. If anything doesn’t help you attain your aim, avoid it. Your goals and career objectives should be above everything. Do what is best to achieve your goals and nothing else.
A strong faith in your abilities is crucial to winning political battles in office. You can’t choose your colleagues and you can’t control their behavior either. However, you can control the way you react to different situations. These reactions will determine how far you go in your career. And, it is not a one-time thing. You need to work continuously on your personality to control your emotions and reactions in hostile situations. In the end, whether you win or lose, never lose faith in yourself.