You are here
9 tips on managing office politics
03 February 2015
There’s little or no getting away from office politics. It exists in every organisation. For some it’s a dirty word, but for others, mastering it is essential for career advancement. The more senior you become, the smarter you need to be at handling office politics.
Like any savvy government politician, you will need to develop sound strategies to get the attention and respect of the right people.
If you understand how to play the game you’ll get ahead, gain respect, and be well liked and valued. Now who doesn’t want that?
Here are a nine tips for understanding and managing the politics in your office:
1. Develop your network
Networking within your business is a great way to build your reputation and get known and recognised for your good work. Identify the movers and shakers in your organisation, particularly the key stakeholders who affect your department’s activities. Be friendly and sincere, but don’t align yourself with any particular group.
2. Understand the people
Make a point of watching the dynamics among your co-workers and team members so you can understand what motivates them and how they interact with one another. Take note of body language in meetings and pick up on who the influencers are in your organisation.
3. Manage your own behaviour
The first golden rule is avoiding gossip. By all means keep your ear to the ground, but never pass on gossip, spread rumours or get sucked into group whinging. Stay positive and maintain the organisational perspective when voicing objections or criticism.
4, Understand the culture of your organisation
Get a handle on how things get done in your company. What are the core values? Are short-term or long-term results rewarded? How are decisions made? How much risk can you take? Armed with this information you will be able to operate effectively and be rewarded for doing the right thing.
5. Know how to negotiate
Gaining buy-in for your ideas is crucial to success. Do your research, get your facts right and present a compelling argument for whatever it is you need to achieve.
Identify the movers and shakers in your organisation, particularly the key stakeholders who affect your department’s activities.
6. Manage conflict effectively
When managing people, you will inevitably have to resolve disagreements among staff members at some point. Try not to take sides or become emotionally involved. Focus instead on resolving the problem so peace can resume. How you handle conflict is your key to earning respect.
No-one will know how good you are if you don’t blow your own trumpet from time to time. Be careful of overdoing it though, lest you risk being branded a bragger.
8. Seize new opportunities
Identify areas where you can add value to your organisation outside of your normal role. Just make sure your everyday workload is under control and won’t suffer as a result of any extra work you take on.
9. Find a mentor
Develop a relationship with a mentor in your organisation. Ideally this should be a person who is more senior than you and who has been in the organisation long enough to know what’s going on and has the experience to help nurture your career. This person will also be a valuable sounding board for working out how to deal with difficult people and situations.
Office politics exist in every organisation. Understanding how to play the game will help you get ahead. To better understand the politics in your office:
- Develop your network
- Manage your own behaviour
- Understand the people and culture of your organisation
- Know how to negotiate
- Find a mentor