Since so many people profess to hate office politics, have you ever wondered why there’s so much of it?
Actually, there’s a fairly simple answer. It’s because people are involved.
Whenever people gather together in groups, it’s a pretty safe bet that issues of power, influence, control, support and distribution of resources will crop up, and politics is the way we negotiate these kinds of things.
This means that some form of office politics is almost inevitable, and these are some of the common characters you could see in a cubicle near you:
The Robber Baron – These types are focused on one thing only – getting all the power and resources they can and using it to advance themselves.
The Suck-Up – This one lets others grab power and then flatters them to promote their personal agendas.
The Bitter Veteran – At some point, this employee didn’t get what he or she wanted and everything has sucked ever since and always will.
Gidget – Men can be Gidgets, too, as long as they’re as similarly positive, perky, prone to sharing and presumably clueless as their namesake.
Yoda – Pointy ears aren’t necessary, but a keen eye for observation and a philosophical approach are.
The Venter – This employee has a deep need to release whatever feelings are plaguing him or her, whether or not it’s appropriate.
The Tweet – Who needs the Internet when you have someone like this passing along every shred of gossip and news that’s available?
This is only a partial list of the characters who might populate your personal office drama, but you’ll notice one principal character is missing – you.
Is that a good idea? Yes and no. It’s understandable if you don’t want to get involved in gossip, grandstanding, backstabbing and any of the other not so fun games going on.
But you don’t do yourself any favors if you completely remove yourself from the communal life of your organization. You’ll miss out on news you actually need. You’ll deprive yourself of social contact and you won’t be able to develop a support network to help you when difficulties arise.
You might even be setting yourself up as a potential target for office harpies… Think of the sickly wildebeest drifting off from the herd before the lions arrive.
The trick is to maintain contact and connection without being drawn into the fray. To do so, listen politely only to polite talk, and excuse yourself graciously if the tone starts to turn. Never pass along gossip. And, above all, hold on to your dignity and personal integrity.
Acting like a friendly, impartial spectator will help you come out a winner, without playing any office politics games.
by Danielle Dresden