Six Success Strategies for Managing Office Politics

So you’ve just started a new job.

From the first day, you’ve been feeling unsettled. You chalk it up to being new and not having established yourself yet in your environment.

But the weeks go on and the feeling continues. And now you’re picking up other things: the sense that you have not been accepted, the whispering that seems to occur, the jokes you don’t get, etc.

What the heck is happening?

Well, you’ve hit office politics, in all its glory.

If dealing with office intrigue and hidden agendas has never been your forte, you’re not alone. But now you’ve been forced to face the music or risk hitting a damaging speed bump in your career.

Here are 6 success strategies to help you:

1. Find a mentor – Someone who understands the company’s culture, who might be in a more senior role and who seems amenable to showing you the ropes. How to find this person? Look for someone who does not engage in gossip and who you “click with.”

2. Listen and watch – Those who do well in your company’s culture. How do they conduct themselves and/or contribute in meetings? Look for several things: body language, how they dress, their manner, are they formal or casual in delivery, their words? Emulate this person.

3. Form strategic alliances – With those in power. Go the extra mile to volunteer your assistance. You will gain a valuable champion.

4. Curb any immediate reactions and knee-jerk emails – One ill-timed word or response can cause irreparable harm to your reputation. Pause before you speak or write. Make sure your communications are “charge neutral” and carry no negative emotions.

5. Use humor – to deflect any missteps. If you can lighten the conversation, when appropriate, people will seek you out.

6. Ask for second-party endorsements – for a job well done. Request that the manager of the project pass along words of your good performance to your boss.

You will find office politics in every environment. Whenever you have 2 or more people in a room, you will experience conflicting opinions, agendas and modes of operating.

This may not be what you signed-for, as you think, “I just want to do my job, this other stuff is emotionally exhausting and wasting my time!”

But know this. Your need for dealing effectively with office politics grows as you climb the corporate ladder, where your peers and bosses have sharpened competencies and stronger personalities.

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