How to avoid office politics

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How to avoid office politics

Whether you work in a multinational, a start-up, an NGO or run a business, you cannot avoid office politics. Over time, you get used to office politics and start even playing it for your convenience. But if you are new to an organisation, you can take steps to avoid office politics. If you don’t take action to avoid this malaise in the office when you are new to the company, you won’t be able to avoid it in the future.

what is office politics and how you can avoid them?

When you see colleagues performing lesser than you, but get high favourable reviews or promotions ahead of you, it could be termed as office politics. When you are denied your rights, but another colleague of yours and that too in a junior post get the same privileges, it could be called office politics. There are numerous games played in the office to break the unity among employees and create competition to achieve the company’s goals. Sometimes, the bosses themselves play these silly or dirty games for their vested interests.

But you could take steps to avoid such dirty office politics altogether. Let’s have a look.

Do not be attached to one single group

As a newcomer to any organisation, we join groups with whom we share our language, region or culture. We then sit, talk, and take our ‘smoke break’ only with them. This creates group culture in the organisation and leads to dirty office politics. When a promotion is due, you get favoured by the group you are part of, but do not get any votes from others. Hence, the best thing to do is mingle freely with everyone and create a professional rapport across the hierarchy. Of course, you’ll identify yourself more and forge a better bond with a particular person or group. That’s alright, but ensure you treat everyone equally and be in the good books of everyone. Later, when a promotion comes up, you’ll get votes from all.

Do not indulge in gossip

The best time pass in any office is gossip. Everyone indulges in it, knowingly and unknowingly, to vent out their frustration. This is a major part of office politics. When you see your colleagues bitching about others, make a conscious effort not to join the fun, and instead maintain a no-comment approach. It will be difficult to do so, but if you practise self-control, it will help you avoid such dirty office politics altogether.

Learn to say no

Shifting work is part of office politics. Managers push work to their subordinates who in return shift it to their juniors. So, if you are junior and new to the company, learn to say no to work that has been pushed to you beyond your office hours or not related to your skillset. Although it would be tricky to say no, remember once you have set the stand, your boss will not push you again. But if you have relented under pressure, and said yes, trust you’ll get burdened with more work beyond office hours and unrelated to skillset regularly. So, learn to put your foot down whenever necessary. Do not overdo things to impress your boss.

Do not jump in at every opportunity

As part of office politics, the decision to take up an opportunity is deliberately delayed longer for a junior to pitch in and take up the work. Do not fall for such traps. Take up a new opportunity only if you think you could do a good job, and it would be a good learning phase in your career, and you have the time for it. Just taking up every opportunity or work that comes your way means you’ll be made the scapegoat every time, and your colleagues will be happy to pass on the work to you.

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