This is how workplace politics goes in most offices – “There are too much wrangling and maneuvering going on in this office – I just hate office politicking“. “Tobi, well she’s a smart political mover – knows exactly how to get what she wants and how to get on with the bosses.” Have you found yourself uttering such words? Whether you hate it, admire it, practice it or avoid it, office politics is a fact of life in any organization and likely not to go away as long as there are human beings. And again, like it or not, it’s something that you need to master or not master in order to guarantee your success or peril.
Workplace politics is the process and behaviour in human interactions involving power and authority. It is also a tool to assess the operational capacity and to balance diverse views of interested parties. It is also known as office politics and organizational politics. That’s the fancy definition, however, if you have been a victim or the receiving end of office politics you know it is nowhere fanciful.
Key to winning workplace politics is becoming stronger – be formidable, be indispensable, be extremely good at your stuff – and you will thrive above onslaught of others. YOU WILL BECOME UNTOUCHABLE.
Workplace politics is the only thing capable of killing skills, talents or genius in any organisation – because performance no longer matters but the clique, caucus or circle you belong. The notion of the existence of the A-team or B-team is the equivalence of a civil war in an organisation.
If you are at the bottom of the ladder you need not worry – as playing politics will be an escape from building your competence on the job. We at CMA don’t recommend this – you will be an easy victim of a major office war, even small wars will throw you off balance. Build competence first before politics
Build Your Professional Competence First – Be Indispensable
Be the indispensable guy or gal in the room, the truly competent and effective is an attractive tool for all warring factions. They will be at your beck and call. Allow your works stand out, and the sharks will be afraid of preying – you might even become untouchable.
Be collaborative. Silos are dangerous
Help out your colleagues and they will help you out. You thus build allies across ‘political’ factions. You don’t want to be known to always deliberately hoarding information or assistance to others. Otherwise, you build enemies, dangerous and powerful enemies that can devour you in moments notice whenever you err. While being collaborative requires reception to such offers, but at least be social
With Facebook and social media, Connect with everyone
It’s easy to stay friends with former colleagues and bosses. Do it. They will come in handy in the future. Drop wishes on their birthdays, important celebrations and whatnot and you would have given yourself a life-line handy during office wars. At least you would have touched their hearts where it is soft.
Learn about other departments in your organisation
Approach those areas of your organisation you know nothing about with the zest of a child – be curious, ask questions and learn how they work. Those are your weak areas and blind spots. You thus build allies and expertise outside your domain, making you more formidable during civil war. For me, that means getting better at marketing and designs. For some people, it’s sales or relationship-building. And don’t forget to give everyone candy bar, sweets or choco-milo for start
Learn a Little Work Place History – Old wars, etc
When you enter a new job, learn about that place before you start making changes. Understand the office culture, the history, what has been tried before. Take time to get to know your colleagues and direct reports. Be honest and open and see opportunities, not challenges. Be friendly to everyone first before singling weakling out for slaughter. Bring sweets, orbits for everybody.
Give Colleagues Chocomilo, cakes …
Am sure you smiled at this idea. Yes – it always works – even during a fight. Give people something – especially sweet stuff and they will consider you an ally. It’s like offering the olive branch – but don’t do it often – you know people before they assume it is your duty to bring sweet stuff to work. Always make it a surprise.
We like to read from you on ideas you think worked for you in the comment box below.