Office politics can make or break your career. It’s important to be aware of the games people play and how to protect yourself.
Stay above the fray. Don’t get involved in gossip or backstabbing. It will only make you look bad.
Keep your head down and work hard. Do your job and don’t draw attention to yourself.
One of the best ways to avoid Office politics is to simply ignore it. This can be the hardest part about being a programmer: not everyone wants to work for you, but you have to work for yourself.So, what do you do when people come in with their petty grudges, their petty demands and their petty complaints?Ignore them. Ignore them until they stop coming around. Then, if they continue to come around, ignore them some more.
Don’t be the Office Bully
Many people have heard that the first rule of Office politics is “Don’t be the Office Bully.” This is a great rule, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should let things slide, especially if you suspect your coworkers are actually trying to get ahead.
Office politics, like any form of political discussion and negotiation, is a two-way street. You have to decide whether you want to be involved in the game or simply observe from a safe distance and let others do what they need to do.
From there it’s a matter of how much you can handle when things heat up. If you want to stay out of it entirely, then just don’t participate in any kind of conversation at all; if on the other hand, you want to participate but don’t want the confrontation that comes with it, then think about which specific things might get heated and avoid them at all costs (e.g., keeping quiet during a heated argument). And remember — always listen when someone needs an ear!
Don’t be the Office Doormat
I’ve worked in a variety of offices and I can tell you that Office politics is not a big deal. I’ve had my share of conflicts with managers, coworkers and coworkers’ managers, but it doesn’t take much effort to resolve those issues. The only thing that happens when Office politics gets out of hand is people lose their jobs.The thing most people don’t understand about Office politics is that it’s not always the result of an intentional decision to make your life miserable — sometimes it works the other way around. Here are some tips on how to save yourself from Office politics:
1. Focus on yourself and be someone who can fix things on your ownFor example, if you have a low tolerance for drama you are likely to feel more comfortable asking for help than telling other people what to do. If you enjoy being alone, then working in an environment where others will be around will distract you from dealing with issues your own way instead of letting them go undiagnosed by others. Or if you have a lot of trouble saying no, it may be time to look for other opportunities.
2. Find power where you can find itSometimes power isn’t the answer; sometimes power just makes things worse (because then everyone sees that as power). When this happens, give up on trying to find the answer or stop asking people what they want — they’ll never tell you! Instead let them speak up on their own and work toward figuring out what they want without interference or advice from anyone else.
3. Don’t allow yourself to get dragged into something because someone else wants something out of it (even if the person doesn’t realize they’re part of something bigger)If someone tells me I need to “get involved” in this project so we will succeed, even though I know there’s nothing I can do that would benefit me personally and even though my manager has already told me specifically not to get involved anyway, then I’m going to say no (that’s usually what happens). And never let anyone else tell me “you need to get involved.”
4. Don’t put pressure on anyone else unless they are willing or able then ask them (and yourself) why they think it should be done their way.If someone says “we should do X because Y is more important,” ask them why Y is more important than X ? If you find something personal here, stay yourself away from it.
Don’t be the Office Sycophant
The best way to avoid Office politics is to avoid it in the first place. If you’re already a sycophant, it’s probably best not to try to be someone else’s hero. But if you are suffering from Office politics, the following tips should help.
1. Don’t pretend that you don’t care.
2. Learn what makes you want to be liked, and then practice behaving like you do care.
3. Understand that your coworkers can see right through your attempts at looking cool and/or important, so don’t try to fake it by pretending that everyone wants “me” as much as everyone does them (even if they do).
4. Avoid being too nice or too rude in your interactions with others — both of these are widely seen as signs of weakness and groupthink, so make sure you’re polite too, especially if you’re trying to make it look like the group is “cool.”
5. Don’t forget about yourself — working for someone else is extremely isolating for the people who live there most strongly; one day a person will realize that their boss secretly hates them and be prepared for that day by not letting on when they meet their coworkers again (and also by practicing keeping a low profile).
Always Be Professional
While we’re on the topic of Office politics, let’s talk about the most important way to avoid it: by being professional. When you are interacting with other people in your organization, be professional. Don’t make comments that you don’t mean; don’t bring up personal issues; don’t use names you shouldn’t; and so on.
If you can’t do all five of these to avoid Office politics, at least be consistent with them, such as when they come up or when you catch yourself saying inappropriate things. In any case, it’s a good idea to have a manager or team leader observe how you interact with people around you and check in on your behavior regularly. You should be able to report back to that person what impact your behavior has had and how it has been improving over time.
My Personal Opinion:
I’ve been working at companies where the management team is very good with communication. But in some other companies, managers will feel their management team doesn’t listen to them. I’ve never seen that happen at Slack. When someone complains or makes a suggestion, their manager or co-founder will take the feedback and make changes without anyone being offended.If you find yourself in such a situation, here are five things you can do to avoid Office politics:
1) Don’t say anything negative – This seems obvious but it can be hard to follow when everyone is saying positive things about each other all the time. We’re trying to create a better work environment for everyone, so if someone says something negative, we won’t just ignore it. It may be worth their time to address it directly instead of letting the person who said it face no consequences for their comments.
2) Think about your coworkers – Sometimes people get caught up in Office politics because they’ve brought too many people into the office and haven’t gotten everything done yet. If this is true for you, think about how you can divide up tasks so that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute (and have time for themselves). If that’s not possible (because of too many people working towards one goal), then try dividing tasks based on how much time each person spends on them and giving those tasks less attention overall (e.g., by only assigning them during certain hours).
3) Talk before you raise your voice – Sometimes the best way to get ahead at work is by keeping quiet and letting others speak up when they need help or want advice. Sometimes people will want you mad at them (or even worse — jealous), but if you talk first without having any real malice in mind, then everyone else feels like they’re respected enough to give advice without fear of retaliation from you acting out on them… which helps everyone’s morale!
4) Don’t be afraid of asking for help – Many times we have seen managers taking care of employees who aren’t able to do much themselves due to different job responsibilities (such as keeping an eye on more than one area of the company). Ask others who work with you regularly if they could support you with your tasks while still giving you room to grow as a person and manager.
Although you cannot always avoid Office politics, there are a few things you can do to help protect yourself from the negative consequences. First, build positive relationships with your co-workers. Next, stay informed about what is happening in the office and try to stay out of any personal dramas. Finally, Focus on your work and avoid letting Office politics interfere with your productivity.
In order to protect yourself from Office politics, you need to keep your head down, work hard, and build relationships with people who are not caught up in the drama. Additionally, make sure that you are always honest and truthful with people, and do not backstab or gossip about others. Finally, stay away from Office politics altogether by spending your time focused on your work instead of engaging in the drama.