Regardless of the type of company you work for or type of people that you work with, office politics are a constant. Knowing how to battle it out in the boardroom, smooth talk co-workers and say what you what without landing yourself in hot water are all handy tips to only survive but conquer office politics and create your own hegemony.
What are office politics?
Office politics differ from office gossip as their intention is to manipulate and gain power over others. At the root of office politics lies manipulation, whereby an individual will use their assigned power to obtain unnecessary advantages. Whether for the purpose of being asked to join a new project, gain a promotion or simply look better in the eyes of a manager, office politics do exist in almost every workplace environment. As you can see they are a perfect way for you to pursue your own Machiavellian hegemony within the office.
Examples of office politics gone wrong
There are numerous ways that individuals take office politics too far and it is essential that you are able to identify these characteristics before they get out of hand: Or exploit them and use them to your advantage.
- Being two-faced
- Gaining an unfair advantage
- Sucking up to improve your reputation
- Being dishonest
- Sabotaging others
- Ruining other peoples’ reputations
Office politics often results in a great deal of upset, stress and irritation amongst co-workers, and many people forget how to correctly behave in the office environment or end up falling out with one another. Many people (those who are masters of office politics) tend to use this to their advantage. It basically involves metaphorically kicking someone when they are on the ground. Hitting them when they are at their weakest to get the result you want.
Below are some tips on how to handle office politics and hopefully make them work to your advantage.
Listen and observe
Take a step back and listen to everything that is going on around you before doing anything else. Observe the behavior of others and learn as much as possible about your surroundings. Every hunter knows that the key to catching their prey is to watch and learn their habits.
Assess the political situation
Learn where the power struggles lie and work out who are the power trippers. Establish who to avoid and who to spend more time with. You need to figure out who are the people that you need to manipulate, who you need to suck up to and who do you need to destroy.
Be careful who you trust
Many people in the workplace put on a front when in fact behind the façade they are manipulative, selfish and driven only for themselves. Essentially they are trying to do the same thing as you. This cannot be allowed. Figure out these characters as soon as possible and learn how to deal with them. Identify them as soon as possible and make sure you isolate and destroy them as soon as possible. If you have to work directly with them, remain professional at all times but do not let your guard slip.
Don’t believe everything you hear
Office gossip is a common part of office life and it can be amazingly helpful in your rise to power. Remember that most of what you hear will probably be lies and there may be a lot of lies about you, especially if your rise to the top is going well. If someone is spreading gossip only repeat it if it is to your advantage otherwise ignore it so that you seem morally superior. But if it will help you then let the gossip spread. If people think that your manager slept with his secretary then it may help you take his position.
Remember that if you are to truly be a master of office politics then you have to appear professional at all times. No one can know of your Machiavellian scheme. Your rise to power may be slow but if you play your cards right, your efforts will pay off.
It may seem slightly devilish and underhanded however it is a dog eat dog world and it is not enough to just survive office politics any more. Divide and conquer is the name of the game and if we have to be a bit Machiavellian in order to achieve greatness then so be it. Who says that work can’t be fun…