Ways to distinguish yourself #134 – Learn to deal with (office) politics

Ways to distinguish yourself #134 – Learn to deal with (office) politics

By Rajesh Setty on Sat 03 Jun 2006, 8:08 AM – Leave Comment

You can wish that office politics was not there or it just disappears one day from your office. The chances of that happening are the same as you winning a lottery. Office politics won’t affect you if you are not on the wrong end of it.

The key is to learn to deal with office politics even when you are not on the wrong end of it. So, if you do end up in the middle of something you are very well prepared.

Many people that I talk to go about saying why office politics is not good and how their company – they debate, argue and try to prove that the office politics should be eradicated. What they fail to observe is that their own line of thinking and arguments will make no difference to the situation whatsoever. So, rather than dreaming about a new world where there is no office politics, spend the same time strategizing how you willd deal with office politics. The latter has a better return on investment of your time :)

Each situation is different. Rather than offering tips or techniques, here are some ideas to consider while you craft your own plan:

1. Observe conversations (read: Observe rumors)

Everything starts with a conversation. I also said “observe” and not “participate”. Observing and participating are very  different. Sometimes you may have to participate in an conversation to observe but it is not always necessary. Ignorance is definitely not a bliss here.

2. Build personal relationships

Very rarely will you be on the wrong end of office politics if you have strong personal relationships with people that matter. They say business and personal relationships are different. You can subscribe to that view and suffer or not worry about semantics and build personal relationships to flourish. The choice is yours.

3. Contribute

If you are contributing in a meaningful way day-in and day-out, chances are that you are valuable to the organization and your team. So, most people won’t want to bother you. There is a small sub-set of people who may not like this and these are people whose positions are threatened because of your endless “contributions”. There is no easy way to deal with them because they are not wanting to compete on merit – most often “entitlement” is what’s on their mind.

4. Watch your blind spots

You should move ahead in your careers but you should not step on anyone else on your way to the top. You should not do this intentionally and you should not do this un-intentionally. The former is easy but the latter requires that you constantly watch who is on your blind-spot. Also, make sure that you are not treading in other people’s blind spots

Of course, the above is not a complete list. But should give you a good start to start thinking on this seriously.

Have a good weekend.

For other articles in the same series, please see my Squidoo Lens on the same topic

Squidoo Lens: Distinguish Yourself


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