How to deal with workplace politics and not make enemies

Workplace politics can be as transparent as coworker cliques to sly back-stabbing bosses.

Employers cannot forbid or stop workplace politics. They can find ways to limit it and discourage it.

As long as there are people involved, there will be workplace politics. The key is to quickly learn who the players are. Click To Tweet

In some companies it is practiced blatantly where those “lucky” ones in the inner circle get the promotions, extra time off or are privileged to confidential inside scoop.

In my presentations, I advise new employees or millennials entering the workforce to talk less, listen more, and watch before hastily forming best-friend type relationships with everyone.

Workplace Politics:  A person who deals with people in an opportunistic, unscrupulous, or cunning way to climb the corporate ladder, discredit someone, or eliminate the competition.

Here are a few tips on managing workplace politics without making enemies:

  1. Face it head on, preferably privately and politely: if you don’t, it’ll resurface, possibly with more vengeance and power. When there’s a misunderstanding or a twisted version of an incident or conversation, address it immediately.
  2. Be calm and cool: losing it or getting dramatic will only add fuel making the conversation turn into an altercation potentially making you look foolish. If you’re about to go off, feel like punching him/her or cry, take a walk or find a way to compose yourself before addressing it.
  3. Stand your ground, or not: If it’s the truth or the right-thing, do not back off. If the matter is insignificant to your department, your image, or getting the job done, forget about it and walk away.
  4. Adjust your message: Sometimes it’s to your advantage to use charm, to approach the person expressing concern, or requesting clarification instead of finger-pointing. They may become less defensive allowing for a real conversation.
  5. Change your demeanor: Especially if you’re the quiet, mild-mannered type or one who has a laidback attitude—you will be viewed as either insignificant (which has its benefits) or a pushover. Speaking up now and then, expressing your opinion, and asking for clarification will break that mold.
  6. Don’t just criticize or point your finger at them: Present facts to back up your criticism, opinion or dispute. Beyond that, offer solutions or options to help clear up the distortion.
  7. Don’t lie or embellish to make your point: Doing so will place you in an awkward position, no better than the person who plays office politics.
  8. Consider making notes as things happen, so that if you decide to meet with HR you’ll look prepared and professional–the last thing you want to do is become emotional and frazzled.
  9. Find a new job: If workplace politics are prevalent from management, to the boardroom, to lower-level supervisors, I advise you to look for a new job.

Whether you hate it, play it well, or try to avoid workplace politics, it is a fact of workplace life. The quicker you learn who the players are, the easier you can adjust, prepare and protect yourself, or maybe even beat them at their game.

Key points:

♦ Maintain a professional demeanor.
♦ Keep your words polite.
♦ Stick to the facts.                                                                                                                         ♦Avoid running to your boss or HR for every minor detail; you may come across as “the problem” and incapable.
♦ Be discreet and private.
♦ Don’t expect change; receive it well if it happens.
♦ October is Workplace Politics Awareness Month

Combating Rudeness and Helping Businesses and Individuals to Overcome the Barriers Between Generations, Genders, and Cultures with Social Skills and Modern Business Manners

having lunch with a CEO, business dining etiquette

Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, Social Skills, Effective Communications and Business Etiquette Presenter, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”

Presentations are available to support HR policies, address concerns, or to avert potential inclinations – Up and coming managers – Millennials – Interns – New-hire orientation process – Layoffs to help prepare them for interviews – Professional development events or conferences – College/university students.

For more information, please contact me via email, or by calling 650.871.6200 before a dilemma turns into front page news.

©2017 Rosalinda Randall. All Rights Reserved.

Photo source: pexals.com

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