Office Politics in Action

Here are four strategies you can use in everyday situations to help advance your role and your HR career.

Jul 1, 2016

The situation: You feel that your contributions and efforts go unrecognized.

The solution: Toot your own horn.

Project yourself with confidence throughout the organization. Engage your colleagues in work that highlights your skills and accomplishments, but don’t interact in a bragging or desperate way. Rather, emphasize how your efforts have contributed to the company’s objectives and provide the data to prove it. 

The situation: You are on the receiving end of a colleague’s temper tantrum.

The solution: Rise above the fray.

It can be hard not to take someone’s anger personally, especially if they sabotage your work and your reputation. Taking them down verbally or retaliating may be satisfying—at first—but it could make you guilty of the same lack of professionalism your colleague showed. Make your case calmly and base it on facts rather than lashing out at someone who took credit for your work or tried to derail your project. In the future, you might need their support. Knowing how to practice self-control is instrumental for your career.

The situation: You are blindsided by someone else’s actions.

The solution: Avoid tunnel vision.

Resist the tendency to take a narrow view of group dynamics, especially in cases where there is conflict. Develop relationships with others who can act as your sounding board and question how your own perceptions might affect your decision-making. Let go of your personal interests to see the bigger picture, which should always focus on what is best for the organization. 

The situation: You are in the middle of a skirmish between warring factions.

The solution: Don’t take sides.

If you take a side in an argument between two colleagues or groups of colleagues, you risk alienating at least one of them and appearing biased by others. Work with all parties to encourage them to air their grievances openly and come up with a mutually acceptable resolution. Get to know what motivates people, which in turn will help you gain support for your goals while you work to help them reach theirs.

Source: Adapted from Office Politics 101: Silence Of The Back Stabbing Lambs (Happy Job Hunting Series Book 3) (Philip Anglican, 2015) by Ethan Powers.


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