There’s nothing more distracting at the workplace than a good run of office politics. It runs rampant in some companies, but is rare and shunned in others. No matter your work situation, you’re bound to run into some office politics at least a few times in your career (if not much more than that). So what’s a girl to do? There are a few fool proof ways to dampen the strength of politics in any work situation.
First, focus on what you’re at work to do: your job. No matter if your office is a high rise corporate environment, or a farm in the middle of no where, focus on your job. The more you focus on what’s in front of you and what you need to do to succeed, the less open you are to office politics. There may be several situations that need your attention, but keep an eye out for what the actual problem is. Spend time each week focusing your attention on your highest priorities, assessing what you need to do to continue to get things done. The busier you keep yourself, the harder it is to fall into the office politics trap.
Another good way to avoid office politics is to keep a firm lookout for it and walk the other way when you see it. This is akin to seeing a creeper on the street in a big city. You’re walking along, minding your own business, when you’re distracted by some creepy dude. We all know what to do in this situation – stand up straight, keep your eyes fixed ahead, and ignore the idiot as much as possible (if you don’t do this already, let’s chat). You should be doing the same thing in an office politics situation – ignore the distractions and keep doing your work. Your boss will notice and appreciate this type of maturity, and you’ll walk away without distractions.
A third way to deal with office politics is to face it head on. Say you’re at lunch with a colleague and they mention that the business team is refusing to do any more work until the marketing team speaks to them. You could deal with this issue by huffing and puffing, and putting your guard up on all business team members. Or, you can take time to speak to the business team and hear their issues. Listening to the source is the best way to deal with office politics head on. The source will back off, and is more likely to help find a solution with you. Problem solved!
No matter the politics, ask yourself and your colleagues what’s worth the time investment. If you can’t justify politics and the time it takes, don’t encourage it. Ban office politics from the office, face issues head on, and do your job.