Plotting a Plan for Managing Office Politics

May 9th, 2016


Three, two, one ….it’s Monday morning again! The weekend was too short, your list of chores was too long and your alarm is buzzing you out of delicious, deep sleep oblivion, driving you into another work week. As you’re rushing out the door are you excited or bummed? Do you feel like a kid getting ready to play ball with a bunch of friends or like you’re dragging yourself to the dentist to have cavities filled? POLITICS - alarm clockOur attitudes about our jobs are often prompted by the people we labor with and whether or not our business environment is upbeat and open, depressing and closed off with adversity, or a mix of the two. Take this people thought and layer on another “P” word – politics. How much you enjoy your occupation is likewise heavily influenced by the politics swirling around you. When you’re part of a great people environment it’s a pleasure to go to work, when you’re not, each day can be drudgery.

With the above in mind, are you living the dream or living in fear? If the people and politics are painful or make you feel vulnerable and afraid you can change jobs. If, on the other hand, you are fitting in nicely with most of your cohorts but there are a few rough spots, you may need to become adept at dealing with office scheming. Not interested? That’s okay, you need to be anyway. Even if you don’t want to be CEO, understanding workplace maneuvers can help you steer through rough waters, contribute to your sanity, and enable your success. Let’s talk about major skills which enable or expand your political dexterity. Remembering these five talents is easy – think A, B, C, D, E – Ask, Build, Control, Develop, Emphasize. POLITICS questions

A — Ask questions to gain understanding of others political intent. Ever have a colleague attack or discredit your efforts? How did you react? The best reply is to defend yourself, right? Wrong – it may be an automatic response but not the best one. The preferred option is to ask questions as to what may have caused the attack. Be inquisitive. Redirect your energy toward understanding politics in play and what is motivating the other person’s behavior. Manipulation among professionals is based in fear, greed and power. Is the attacker afraid of losing control, looking bad in front of others, or exposing their insecurities? Asking questions helps you understand what prompted their fear, how you can neutralize it and become friends. TIP –Your inquisitive manner makes it easier for you to understand others — more important than them understanding you.

With the Ask element now ingrained in your brain, you’re on your way to gaining fresh political savvy. Of course, there’s more … join me next time and I’ll share the details. *

*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.

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