The mere mention of "Office Politics" is bound to stir a mix of negative emotions, with the mental imagery of sucking up, fakery and conniving colleagues all strung together. Truth be told, it's not easy shaking off the rusty reputation it has earned, as many have utilized the tactic to solely benefit themselves. However, knowing the playing field can help attain positive objectives for both your department and the organization.
If you're open to a few pointers on how to survive office politicking, then read along.
Understanding the Chain of Command
While everyone has a vital role to play in any organization not everyone has influence or the power to make decisions. The organizational chart can be the easiest way to begin profiling the right individuals but there's more to it than simply titles or positions. Learning about office circles and out-of-office cliques is another way of understanding the chain of command, at the end of the day, managers are still regular people, ordinary folks with interests, connections and relationships.
Take for instance hobbies. If your manager is a gun enthusiast, chances are he associates with office colleagues that share the same interest, they may spend their off days at the local firing range or gun club just shooting the breeze. The office chain of command may no longer apply to such activities, but the subject of work can still make its way into the conversation. Even those who lack the titles to set a formal meeting at work, can utilize the venue to interject a request, solution or remedy.
Building Interpersonal Skills
Polishing your social skills can help pave new avenues for high quality relationships, it can even bridge better connections outside your current network. Being honest and transparent while knowing how to self regulate are key assets when building rapport, these traits outweigh empty flattery and tend to be attractive qualities that can turn heads in your direction.
When in unfamiliar territory, it should always come as common sense to remain silent and observe. Novices too often lapse into comfortable roles and ruin the opportunity when they speak out of turn mentioning a controversial subject or become too friendly with someone they barely know. Having restraint helps identify other people's interests and frailties, utilizing the right manner of approach can make or break a lasting first impression.
A Professional in all Aspects
Avoid relationships that can compromise one's character, this can be in the form of sexual favors or inappropriate requests. Knowing the person you are associating is crucial as not everyone shares your moral compass, and the favor owed may result in jeopardizing your career. Fanning the flames of negativity is another misstep to avoid, while finding a common enemy is the easiest way to make friends, it's also the simplest way to be credited as a rumormonger.
Always remember that good politics exists, there are always ways to attain your objectives without destroying others.
Human Resources Manager