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Are Office Politics Ruining Your Career? Try This

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By Jennifer Cohen

Office politics are an inevitable game, and at times can be extremely exhausting. In a politically charged environment, carefully calculated efforts must be put forth to ensure your success. The key to staying afloat within the organizational politics that exist is recognizing, understanding, and learning how to navigate the unspoken hierarchies to your advantage. Easing into situations cautiously and remaining flexible in one’s approach can swing the odds in your favor, in turn making you a standout.

1.    Observe the Hierarchy

Traditional and formal organizational charts don’t apply when dealing with office politics. Step back and observe the interactions between your colleagues and ask yourself:

Who are the real influencers?

Who is respected?

Who celebrates or mentors others?

Who do you need to be careful around/which enemy do you need to keep closest to you?

Flush out the “real org chart” identifying key players and their actual roles before making any moves or snap judgments.

2.    Building Strategic Alliances

The who’s who of your office can help you get ahead. Concealing weakness is crucial. Do not overshare insecurities with others. Work to form relationships with those who have informal power by being a trustworthy person and someone you would want to befriend. Don’t limit yourself to any one network or grouping of people so you can stay in the know; continue to remain friendly, open and receptive to everyone in your workplace.

3.    Thou Shalt Not Gossip

As you start to build relationships, use them to portray and promote yourself positively to the rest of the team. We all know that special person loitering near the water cooler too long  with tasty tidbits of gossip, or the perpetually negative person. Steer clear of them and the toxicity of negative politicking.

4.    Keep Your Eye On The Prize

When conflicts arise do not take sides. Pick your battles carefully and wisely. Redirect the group’s energies by driving their efforts back towards the business and task at hand. Since ultimately everyone wants to be considered successful, a clear focus can unify the office.

5.    Listen, Don’t Just Hear

People often feel dissatisfied in the workplace because they feel misunderstood or unheard. Disarm colleagues and ease tensions by making an effort to really listen and hear where people are coming from—it’s called “conscious listening.” Just opening your ears can make a world of difference.


This article was written by Jennifer Cohen from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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