Mind Tools for Your Organization
Here are some tips, applicable for both staff and management, on dealing with office politics. This information is also available as a PDF download. The easiest way to avoid problems with politics is to get along with people. I'm not saying you need to hug everyone and sing songs, and I'm not saying you have to be a pushover for everyone. You can be pleasant and professional, while at the same time being assertive when necessary. If you have a concern, focus only on the issue, not on the person.
If you have to refuse a request, explain why and try to come up with alternative solutions. Living at peace with others also means being careful about choosing sides during office power struggles. Aligning yourself with one faction or the other will prevent you from working effectively with people from the "other" side, thereby hampering your productivity and thus your performance.
It's even worse if "your" faction loses out. Instead, try to focus on your tasks, dealing with people in either faction on the basis of the tasks alone, and avoid talk on the political issue that separates the groups.
Does your organization have issues? Have people told you things in confidence? Then keep those matters to yourself. Talking to outsiders about issues within your organization makes all of you look bad to that outsider. Furthermore, your boss or your boss's boss will not appreciate that behavior. People will find out that you spoke about what they told you, and they'll lose confidence in you and respect for you. We all have responsibilities and objectives, and those things should receive priority.
Nonetheless, if it doesn't take too much time, being helpful to others can reap benefits for you. Does someone need a ride in the direction you live? Did your co-worker leave headlights on in the parking lot?
Is someone having trouble building an Excel macro? If you can help that person, especially if you can do so without taking too much of your time, you benefit yourself as well as the other person. By doing these things, you're building political capital and loyalty. In doing so, you reduce the chances that you will be the victim of political intrigue. Nothing destroys the dynamics of an office more than gossip. Stay away from it, because nothing good comes from it.
Just be sure you avoid the "holier than thou" attitude of lecturing your co-workers on the evils of gossip. You'll make them lose face, and they'll resent you. Instead, try subtly changing the subject. I love them because you are so clearly trying to blaze a new path for yourself that blends personal fulfillment without having to settle for a meaningless job: Careers like yours are the most interesting to watch. Posted by Penelope Trunk on August 4, at One of the most admirable and terrifying!
The important thing as I see it is that you continue to raise important issues that challenge the reader to re-evaluate. Posted by Diana on August 4, at 1: Hi there, just want to say hi from a remote country called China.
I very much like your blog and now reads it quite regularly.. I was in the States for 6 years up until last year and came back to my home country to work. It turned out that politics is an internaltional thing and I am yet to sort out my own strategy in this arena.
Posted by Jasmine on August 10, at 1: Jasmine, thanks for writing in from China. I think the differences would shed light on how to succeed in both places. Posted by Penelope Trunk on August 10, at 2: Frankly I think there are more similarities than differences. Posted by Jasmine on August 11, at Even those who are currently not on my team. This requires that I move around the cubes, meeting people and chatting with them, at least once a day.
I keep an open box of candies on my desk, so that people are tempted to stop by and pick one. Otherwise, I chat with them for a couple of minutes. Posted by Prashant on March 22, at 2: Penelope, I just came across this article. Then, I was told that even though these people—who are just as human as I—may not speak to me on a repeated in the hallways which I think is quite rude , etc. Posted by Mel on July 30, at 4: Great response, I admire you for going after the goals that were more important to you.
Posted by Anonymous on August 24, at Posted by Eric O on April 2, at 2: Posted by ringtone on October 9, at 8: Office Politics become common now-a-days. Be an optimistic person. This politics is helpful for everyone to develop our career. Then only we can achieve our goal. Posted by fairy and angel wings costume on October 9, at 8: Posted by Send gifts to Pakistan on October 24, at Designer christmas cards — Offer the largest range of cards which includes designer christmas cards, company christmas cards, corporate christmas cards, charity company xmas cads and christmas card printers at the very best prices from Printed-Charity-Christmas-Cards.
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Posted by Ravidalingerie on December 22, at 1: Posted by Online dating on February 24, at 1: Take a personal interest in them as people and share your enthusiasm and vision with them. Find ways to set realistic but challenging goals related to their areas of interest and skills whenever possible.
And don't forget to coach them—provide ongoing feedback on what people do well and ask them for ideas on how things could be done more effectively. Build in mechanisms to offer small rewards for goal accomplishment, change, and innovation rather than for maintenance of the status quo. Instead of talking to coworkers directly when they have a problem, employees complain to supervisors and talk about people behind their backs.
Encourage individuals to ask questions and challenge the status quo. Gossip, rumors, and backbiting thrive in a closed-door work environment. When there are no secrets or off-limit conversations, the rumor mill starts to dissipate.
Participate in open forums on a regular basis and emphasize the fact that you're always accessible. Influential employees push through expensive projects that serve only one small part of the company.
In a high-functioning organization communicating the overall common vision and goals of the organization is a priority for leaders. When everyone is absolutely clear on what the company is working toward, pork-barreling is automatically curtailed.
People are actually embezzling from the company, fudging reports, or engaging in other unethical or illegal behavior. Upholding ethical standards isn't a "nice-to-do"; it is a "must-do"—especially since the recent rash of corporate scandals. Leaders also model appropriate behaviors that they want to see in others.
One suggestion is to establish a "whistle-blowers" forum for individuals who want to report unethical behavior without fear of repercussions. A VEO is an organization made up of employees who feel a sense of ownership for the business. They are driven to innovate constantly, to execute relentlessly, and to work with a sense of passion.
They do what is necessary to stay ahead of the competition. Once employees start seeing positive results, they won't need all the political distractions and dramas anymore. They'll be fulfilled by their work. That's what it's like to work for a Vibrant Entrepreneurial Organization.
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