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7 Ways to Use Office Politics Positively. Getting What You Want Without "Playing Dirty"

Avoid fueling negative behaviors

  • Avoid passing on rumors without considering their credibility;
  • Assume that whatever you say will be repeated, so choose carefully what "secrets" you reveal.
  • Remain professional at all times, and don't take sides.
  • If you're voicing concerns or criticism of your own, be confident and assertive but not aggressive. 

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7 Ways to Use Office Politics Positively. Getting What You Want Without "Playing Dirty"

7 Ways to Use Office Politics Positively. Getting What You Want Without "Playing Dirty"

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_85.htm#

mindtools.com

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Key Ideas

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 influence decisions that affect you and your team.

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.

Build Connections

Look beyond your immediate team, and cross the formal hierarchy in all directions – co-workers, managers and executives. 

Don't be afraid of politically powerful people. Get to know them, and build high-quality connections that avoid empty flattery.

Interpersonal skills

Reflect on your emotions, what prompts them, and how you handle them. 

This kind of emotional intelligence helps you to pick up on other people's emotions, too, and to understand what kind of approach they like or dislike.

Make the most of your Network

Through your relationships, you can build your personal brand and raise your team's profile.

When you communicate your achievements to your connections, they might open up opportunities for you, your team, and your boss. 

Always keep your organization's goals in mind, and don't "badmouth" others.

Keep an eye on the "bad" politics

Get to know the gossips and manipulators better. 

Be courteous but guarded, as they may repeat what you say with a negative "spin." Try to understand their goals, so that you can avoid or counter the impact of their negative politicking.

Avoid fueling negative behaviors

  • Avoid passing on rumors without considering their credibility;
  • Assume that whatever you say will be repeated, so choose carefully what "secrets" you reveal.
  • Remain professional at all times, and don't take sides.
  • If you're voicing concerns or criticism of your own, be confident and assertive but not aggressive. 

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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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“Avoiding (office) politics altogether can be deadly for your career. Every workplace has an intricate system of power, and you can—and should—work it ethically to your best advantage.” --...
Social Astuteness

Aim to become something of a “corporate anthropologist,” observing the relationships between co-workers and superiors and paying attention to informal social networks.

By observing the communication and relationships that surround you at work, you might discover that instead of hiding when the team gets competitive, you would do better to hang in there, go toe-to-toe with them, and ultimately earn their respect.

Interpersonal Influence

Look for people who are not necessarily in high-level roles, but who have the ability to make things happen. Who are the movers and shakers in your organization, and what can you learn from how they get things done?

For example, you might discover that before voicing an opposing opinion in a global teleconference, it pays to have influential backers present. 

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Workplace Drama

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

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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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Negative Feedback
Negative feedback is a more important component of the feedback cycle than positive feedback. 92% of people say in a study that negative feedback improves workplace performance.
Why are people scared of Feedback

Normally people react with caution and fear towards negative feedback, but it is much better than no feedback at all.

Informing the colleague/subordinate/client/customer or individual about something that is not working, is always beneficial, and builds transparency and trust.

Check how it impacts the person

The fundamental goal of giving feedback is to help the person you’re giving it to. They should realize that you are not trying to make them feel bad, and this is an exercise to help make them better.

How it impacts each individual is going to be different so a tailor-made approach is required. 

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Questions for the Important Traits

Grit- ask on how determined a person in pursuing his dreams.

Rigor- ask if there was a time he considered a data to make a decision.

Impact- ask for what he have co...

When asking questions on the candidate's unique contribution..

Probe: give me an example…

Dig: who, what, where, when, why and how on every accomplishment or project

Differentiate: we vs. I, good vs. great, exposure vs. expertise, participant vs. owner/leader, 20 yard line vs. 80 yard line

Applying STAR questions

SituationWhat's the background of what you were working on?

TaskWhat tasks were you given?

ActionWhat actions did you take?

Results- What results did you measure?

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Coworkers That Cause Drama

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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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How to Change Job Fields
How to Change Job Fields
  • Decide What Field you want to work in.
  • Learn what additional training you will need to transition.

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Make space to create meaning

Provide digital self-assessment tools and the types of personal exploration exercises that facilitate reflection.  

These mechanisms can help employees identify personal sources...

Provide the right amount of structure

Formal employee programs and activities, such as rotational opportunities, innovation labs, reverse mentoring and milestone experiences, can help employees build deeper, more diverse relationships while promoting growth.

Build strong teams

Deepening relationships is a key source of fulfillment.

Shared experiences help employees come together in ways that build meaningful connections and trust. Activities that provide a common purpose — such as an escape room game or a hackathon — are especially effective.

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