7 Key Tactics to Handle Office Politics Effectively

Many might think that office politics is an inevitable thing that happens within the workplace. While some work environments might not be too obvious about it, what happens if you are in a workplace that has blatant office politics?

Office politics can be very difficult to manage, especially if you are just an average employee. You do not want to get caught up in this messy web called office politics, as it can bring down your entire career.

ADVERTISEMENT

If you’re in a work environment that has office politics and you want to know how to navigate the workplace, here are some key tactics to handle office politics effectively.

7 Key Tactics to Handle Office Politics Effectively
Image Source: BetterUp

What is Office Politics?

Let’s define office politics first to see if it is truly something that you should avoid or participate in. 

7 Key Tactics to Handle Office Politics Effectively
Image Source: The Standard

Office politics is how power is being distributed within a certain workplace and how such power can affect the working relationships between employees. 

ADVERTISEMENT

If there is a balanced distribution of power between employees, everyone gets to take advantage of a healthy work environment. 

A subtle offset of such power distribution can immediately throw the balance off, which is why it plays a significant factor in many relationships within the workplace.

Things to Look Out for in Office Politics

There are telltale signs that office politics is slowly creeping into your work environment. Notice how some people act, especially when they are talking to someone who currently holds power. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Others tend to flatter or give compliments to the manager to gain favors, while others take the credit even if it wasn’t theirs. 

Some try to sabotage the project to make themselves look better, while others start spreading lies and rumors to pull you down. Always keep on the lookout for these signs.

The Negative Effects of Office Politics

People often perceive office politics as negative due to its power imbalance favoring those with the power. 

7 Key Tactics to Handle Office Politics Effectively
Image Source: Forbes

Office politics may have its upsides, especially if they are reasonable, but most of the time, there are a lot of negative effects

Creates a Stressful Environment

One of the negative effects of office politics is that it creates a hostile environment within your workplace. 

People become very stressed out due to the power imbalance. They don’t know whether they are being judged at work or if they meet the expectations of their managers. 

Having such a strung-out work environment can result in stress.

Decrease in Productivity

People who are working with negative office politics are often on the edge. 

This keeps them distracted at every moment, which leads to lower focus and productivity at work. 

Many people begin to provide low-quality results, which can fuel even more reasons for office politics.

Lowers Morale

No one wants to work in a place where you are constantly being talked about, or you’re being targeted. 

Office politics destroy work morale since it focuses more on who holds the power instead of a harmonious environment. 

We go to work to earn money without having to deal with extra baggage such as office politics.

Key Tactics to Handle Office Politics Effectively

Nobody wants to deal with negative office politics for the reasons mentioned above. 

7 Key Tactics to Handle Office Politics Effectively
Image Source: Creative Boom

It is harmful to everyone in the workplace, and it can add stress to an already overwhelming stressful environment. 

If you work in an environment that has bad office politics, here are some tactics for you to effectively deal with negative office politics.

Develop Your Skills

One of the many reasons why office politics is taken advantage of by others is to get themselves promoted. 

You can always combat this by becoming an undeniable candidate for a promotion. The best way to do this is to develop and hone your skills so much that it immediately reminds other employees about you. 

They will never have to second guess who is the best in the workplace, and not even office politics can deny that.

Keep Yourself Busy

Keep yourself busy with work, and no matter what happens, never entertain office politics. 

Avoid it like the plague, and you will have a fantastic reputation for staying out of work drama. 

You become the person inside the office who stays out of the drama and instead becomes the reliable person whenever things go south.

Be Friendly to Everyone

This does not mean that you have to pretend to like everyone in the office. You can instead be friendly to everyone who is friendly to you. 

Be respectful to everyone and create rapport with people you like. This will foster an environment that is not aggressive and does not condone any form of rumor-mongering. 

At best, try to create relationships without having any intent aside from friendship or any other agenda.

Keep Documents as Receipts

There will be instances that you will get dragged into negative office politics even if you do all these tactics. Make sure that you also protect yourself by keeping documents and records of everything that you do as receipts. 

This will help provide evidence of any false accusation hurtled at you due to office politics. This can also be very effective to show when your credibility is being questioned at work. 

No one will be able to deny that you have done your part towards the success of the workplace.

Listen Actively

Office politics requires you to know everything that is going on. Whether it is within chat, email, or in conversations, you should always listen actively when someone is talking. 

Most of the situations that worsen office politics are all about assumptions that often turn out to be untrue. 

When you actively listen and find out the truth, you separate yourself from such negativity in the workplace.

Be Authentic

One of the biggest advantages that you will always have against office politics is your authenticity

Anyone who spreads lies and rumors to bring you down inside the office will do anything to tarnish your reputation

If you have already established authenticity within your workplace, everyone you know will always trust you first before they believe the other party.

Be Collaborative

Many employees often end up using negative office politics to get what they want because they are not being heard. Growing pains are usually the culprit of negative office politics. 

No one wants to feel that they are not being listened to, especially on a crucial project or during an important meeting. 

If you want to navigate office politics, be open to collaboration and include as many people in your project as much as possible. Never leave anyone, especially if you are working on a project that requires a lot of people.

Conclusion

Power is what drives people to use negative office politics to their favor – that’s because they either want to seize the power or the upper hand at work or they were denied the chance to assume such power within the work environment

Remember, balance is key to having the perfect office politics equilibrium, but it can be very hard to achieve. Follow the tips mentioned above so you can effectively navigate through office politics.