Have you ever been in the middle of a situation at work where you felt like you were on a set of reality TV show instead? Or walked away from a heated discussion thinking, “this can’t be real. Is this really happening? At work? Where am I?” Sometimes office politics – or really, office personality dynamics – can feel like something straight out of House of Cards. I think it’s natural to feel either drawn to drama or repelled by it, but no matter what, office drama will always be a key character in any business. So let’s talk about how to deal with office politics and make the best out of them, actually.
“There is no need to be afraid of office politics,” Lawrence Cheok tells us in his blog post for LifeHack. “Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics.” Below are 2 good habits to help you win at the workplace. Check out his post for 5 more!
Know What You’re Trying to Achieve
A common trap is to focus on differences. It’s easy to only focus on differing opinions, styles, positions and how they are getting things accomplished contrary to YOUR way. Dance around this trap instead. Everyone wins if you focus on what’s best for the COMPANY. When you feel conflict rising, start asking questions about solving a problem in the best way for the business. Talk about the pros and cons of doing things for the betterment of revenue or efficiency for the customers. Once you get the other person thinking in that direction, he or she will remember the end goal is the company’s success – and the only way she wins is if the company succeeds.
“You will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities,” Cheok writes.
Don’t Get Personal
Put your EQ to work. Think before you speak. In a conflict, don’t let your temper get the best of you. I know you want to give that person a talkin-to, but don’t. Even when you’re in the right – don’t teach a lesson. No one likes it. No one forgets it. Go home and tell your spouse how right you were instead.
“People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. You’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person,” Cheok reminds us all.
All the buzz is about Emotional Intelligence, and right now it carries more weight than ability does. Managers hire and promote people they can work well with, and people who work well with others. Skills can be taught. But if you don’t play well with others, you’re out. So when it gets really difficult to bite your tongue – and you know it will – just remember how badly you want a promotion. Remember what’s more important to your career holistically than this incredibly trying moment at present.
“Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with,” Cheok tells it like it is. “The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.”