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10 Effective Ways To Navigate Work Politics

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 facts and avoid what you think happened. Know that you can't control how you feel, only how you react.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

10 Effective Ways To Navigate Work Politics

10 Effective Ways To Navigate Work Politics

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/02/07/10-effective-ways-to-navigate-work-politics/

forbes.com

10

Key Ideas

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 facts and avoid what you think happened. Know that you can't control how you feel, only how you react.

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. 

Find The Key Player(s)

Go through all the players and imagine each person individually disappearing from the organization. Does the problem go away? If it does, then this person is the key. 

If this person's performance is the issue, that's the elephant in the room that you need to address tactfully. For any other issue, your best weapon is to find empathy for this person.

The Ally Echo-Chamber

You know your allies, as you've likely been venting to them. But they are red herrings that may be making things worse.

  • Venting to them reduces the symptoms without addressing the core problem.
  • By venting to them, they can allow a distorted truth when they allow you to focus on your version only instead of the full facts.

Don't give in to this distraction.

Identify Your Opponents

Empathy diffuses drama. Seek to understand their emotions and what they're trying to accomplish. 

Even if your opinion is unchanged, a true connection is your greatest asset to influence someone for the better.

Order Conversations

... from most difficult to the least. If a conversation feels like it will be difficult, it means it's the most important one to stop avoiding.

Seek empathy and use as much tact as you can muster. You'll find that even if you disagree, you'll have a useful, productive conversation.

Intentionally Make Yourself Vulnerable

When starting a difficult conversation, lead with what you could have done better in the situation and consider sharing your personal emotions and challenges in a tactful, authentic way. 

This is a huge opportunity to create trust. It's also where most people fail, as it requires being incredibly vulnerable.

Tactfully Reveal The Elephants

Tell the story of what you think happened, doing your best to reveal the humanity and emotions of every individual that took part.

Focus on the challenges you have been encountering and use neutral language to share your perspective. Your words will only be heard if you are incredibly tactful.

Quickly Address Minor Triggers

The best way to prevent drama and politics from even occurring is to share quickly and tactfully when small issues come up.

If you come from a place of honesty, identifying where you've been inauthentic or not holding up your end of the bargain, you'll maintain an open dialog. 

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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. 

Actions outside these comfort zones will likely lead to feuds, hidden decisions, excessive arguing, counter-productive lobbying, and back-biting.

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.

This enables you to anticipate counter-arguments and update your proposal to answer objections and to accommodate political realities.

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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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Pointless Criticism

In the context of poor communication, criticizing is when you knock someone down for the wrong reasons: to hurt someone, to vent your frustrations or to boost your ego.

It’s easy enoug...

Blaming

When you blame someone, you take any responsibility off of yourself and put it on them. 

It’s understandable that you want to express your dissatisfaction with something. But sometimes you need to express it in order to find a solution, not to point singers.

Ineffective Complaining

Complaining is exhausting because it puts pressure on the other person. 

Complaining often results in the other person feeling as if they should somehow “fix” the problem or else just get away from the complaining. 

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