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How to Keep Office Politics From Destroying Your Success at Work

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https://www.inc.com/martin-zwilling/7-steps-for-navigating-office-politics-even-if-yo.html

inc.com

How to Keep Office Politics From Destroying Your Success at Work
Running a business would be so much easier if we didn't have to deal with office politics. Every business professional not only have to deal with their own office politics, but also with those in their customer offices, vendors, and partners.

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Identify political players

We all start out naively assuming that all business leaders make decisions based wholly on fact and merit. 

The first challenge is to develop ...

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Keep political players comfortable

Every individual and leader has their comfort zone--behaviors, values, attitudes, fears, and drives that result in productive relationships. 

...

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Align with decision-makers

Before coming and launching a fully-fledged proposal at a committee or in a memorandum, it's smart to test opinion and find out how key people will react.

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Work the network of key people on decisions

Just as you do your homework on the facts, it pays to do your homework by visiting the players in a given situation.

Effective man...

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Identify the norms for action

Focus your powers of persuasion on the right people and the right issues.

Politically insensitive business people often try to ste...

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Support others

... as often as you ask for support. If you are viewed as always demanding support, but never giving it, your effectiveness will be greatly reduced, even when you are right. 

Always c...

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Stand firm

When your integrity and values are at stake, do not fold. 

There are obviously occasions when a subtle or indirect appeal, ra...

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Using Office politics to your advantage

Office politics are a reality, and avoiding them altogether risks not having a say in what happens. 

It also allows people with less experience, skill or knowledge than you to inf...

Analyze the Organization Chart

Map the political power and influence in your organization, rather than people's rank or job title.

Ask yourself questions like, "Who are the real influencers?," "Who has authority but tends not to exercise it?," "Who is respected?," "Who champions or mentors others?," and "Who is the brains behind the business?"

Understand the Informal Network

Examine people's interactions and relationships to understand the informal or social networks.

Watch closely (but discreetly and respectfully) to find out who gets along with who, and who finds it more difficult to interact with others. 

Notice whether connections are based on friendship, respect, romance, or something else.

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Workplace Drama

When workplace drama affects you, it can become an insidious cloud that permeates your day-to-day.

Be mindful and ask yourself, "What is actually going on here?" Focus on the fa...

Count Your Elephants

Make a list of all of the awkward, uncomfortable realities that haven't been discussed out in the open. 

Set aside time to consciously think through, what's actually bothering you right now and write down these elephants to enable you to resolve these issues.

Identify Your Role In The Problem

Be honest with yourself: Are you contributing to the situation negatively or doing anything to help?

Write down the ways in which you've contributed, and identify how you can personally take responsibility. 

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Coworkers That Cause Drama

When you're second-guessing yourself before communicating with someone, you probably have reservations based on their past reactions. 

When you do need to communicate with such people,...

Don't Pretend to Be Above Office Politics

You work with a variety of people and you won't always get along with everyone. Telling yourself, "I don't engage in office politics, I tell it like it is," is a flawed tactic that might just cause more trouble.

When you stick your foot in your mouth, all you can do is apologize and explain it was a genuine mistake.

Ask Questions

Ask your contacts in any new environment.

  • Are there sensitive topics that I shouldn't discuss without talking to you first?
  • Can you draw an organizational chart for me?
  • Who should my main point of contact be for this project?
  • Is there a certain process I should follow for this task? Is it okay if I talk to this person first?
  • With whom should I be engaging?

With a clear understanding of how they work and are their organizational hierarchy, you're less likely to do something that will cause unnecessary drama or miscommunication.

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