It’s easy to get caught in workplace politics especially if you are new to the organization, or new to the career world. Bullies don’t only exist in school, they’re everywhere, and they can follow you up to the workplace. To protect yourself from negative workplace politics, you need to learn how to navigate conflict within the organization.
Let’s start by understanding what exactly negative workplace politics is. Workplace politics arises when employees tend to misuse their power to gain undue attention and popularity at the workplace. The issue at hand is that politics reduces the productivity of individuals and eventually the organization is at a loss. People tend to spend their maximum time pulling each other’s legs and playing nasty politics at work.
The reasons for workplace politics.
- Employees aspiring to come into the limelight without working hard but just mastering workplace politics.
- Politics arises when employees aspire to achieve something beyond their authority and control in a short span of time.
- Lack of supervision and control at the workplace.
- Too much gossip at work lead to politics.
- Arrogant superiors
- Jealous colleagues
Here is how to win at workplace politics.
1. Stay out of it
If you don’t want to get involved, then it’s simple, just stay out of it. If you start to engage in conversations and practices that openly show power plays, then that’s the start of problems. Don’t get involved in any of the controversies at the workplace. Avoid unnecessary disputes and conflicts. Treat people well, and don’t entertain anything things that don’t uplift you.
2. Don’t look for faults in others
Being noble is a value that everyone should strive to achieve. This involves upholding your moral principles. Don’t be the one to point out faults in others, and don’t engage in conversations appertaining to the same. Mind your own business and specifically, the business that pays you.
3. Avoid gossiping
Gossip is one useless way to spend your time. You gain nothing from it, nothing at all. Gossip is the easiest way to get in trouble or look immature. Nothing says “I’m not ready for a promotion” as much as trash talk. While it’s okay to socialize, you should know this by now: everything you say will come back to get you, especially when someone else can benefit from it.
4. Choose your friends carefully
Learn to differentiate between friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Your colleagues cannot always be your friends. Learn to maintain that boundary, and choose your friends wisely. If someone is saying negative things about others all the time, consider becoming friends with a different coworker. The person you befriend at work may also influence the decisions your boss makes. If you’re known to hang out with employees who don’t completely work efficiently, that may reflect poorly upon you.
5. Concentrate on your work
Like I’ve said, learn to mind the business that pays you. The business that pays you isn’t discussing other people in any way. the business that pays you is focusing on what took you to that organization. Remember you are paid for your hard work and not for playing dirty politics at the workplace.
6. Learn not to react to your feelings
If you work and interact with people, you are very likely to rub off one another at some point. Learning not to act upon your feelings is a skill that will come in very handy in the workplace. Breathe and allow things to pass. Tell yourself that you’re not the victim of circumstances, and you can choose how to respond when things don’t go your way.
7. Never open confidential documents
You land on some confidential information. Maybe it’s your colleague’s paycheck or something about promotions. It could even be a conversation that you are easily able to eavesdrop on. Don’t dig into information that isn’t meant for you. You will find exactly what you’re looking for, and it may affect how you view your colleagues. Respect the privacy of others.
8. Don’t rely on verbal communication
The problem with verbal communication is that it’s nearly impossible to prove your side of the story. Make sure that everything is put down in writing, so that in the event that there’s an issue, you can easily defend yourself by showing written proof.
Documentation helps ensure consent and expectations. It helps to tell the narrative for decisions made, and how you or the client responded to different situations. In this same manner, it is important to record information that can help support the proper treatment plan and the reasoning for such services.
9. Be honest
They say that honesty is the best policy, and honesty within the workplace is no exception to the rule. If you make a mistake, own up and apologize. Never break anyone’s trust, not even your colleagues of lower or same-level ranks. Say the truth and you will win at workplace politics.
10. Stay away from power struggles
People go through all sorts of things to prove themselves worthy and powerful. Stay away from that. The Waswahili like to say, Kizuri chajiuza, kibaya chajitembeza. A good thing sells itself, a bad thing must be advertised. Many people approach conflict with a “win-lose” attitude. This attitude fuels the political fire and destroys the organizational culture. Don’t get involved so you don’t get in the line of that fire.
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