We asked people in the office (our office building houses several companies) how they deal with office politics. Here are some of the most popular answers (in no particular order).
Some had a short and sweet answer to our question.
1) “Leave it at the door.”
2) “Play office politics like a game, don’t get affected by it.”
3) “Office politics? What is that?”
4) “I’m not playing office politics; I’m just speaking up on what I think is right.”
5) “I go with the flow, don’t argue with anyone and try to stay on good terms with everyone.”
Some had more to say about office politics:
6) “Don’t. You are just reinforcing the problem by continuing to engage with it. The more you insist on being seen as a member of the team, the more likely you are to be forced into an awkward situation, or be made subject to exclusionary behavior.
Think about how often you hear people say things like, “politics is why I’m no longer in my old department/organization.” It’s never fun at first, but eventually your anonymity will make your experience much easier and smoother..
Go find new groups on Meetup or something; make some friends outside of work; embrace social activities that aren’t hosted at work (or avoid them too). And if all else fails–leave. There is life beyond work to live, and we’ll all be happier if we can stop treating work as our entire world.”
7) “The best way to deal with office politics is to shut it out. Believe me, I know the pain of having coworkers constantly attacking one another over money, promotions, relationships or other slights. I don’t have many friends left because they either came down too hard on me for not giving up my seat on a bus, didn’t hold my hand enough while crossing the street or just expect too much from their girlfriend. Some things are just unsolvable-and that’s why you should focus your attention on something even more important than work-your family! Tell them about your day every night before you go to bed-over phone or video chat if distance makes that difficult. BEFORE YOU KNOW IT THEY’RE GOING TO”
8) “I am of the opinion that you and I (and pretty much every human on earth) can’t avoid office politics. Sure, we’re free to go into an office with a zen mood and be all about peace and unconditional love, but then we end up like Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty… or not even that bad. We get fired because either the boss didn’t want people who opinions differed from their own, or something drastic happens in the outside world so it’s time to scapegoat everyone at work. It’s just too risky for non-subscription – please look elsewhere for your answers. That being said, there is a better way to approach things when there is a change in leadership in a workplace “
9) “It’s bad for your mental health, so stop reading up on all those articles about how you have to navigate office politics. It only makes it worse. You don’t have to be a perfect blending of being “likable” and “fearless.” Forgive yourself for any early missteps on the way to the shower room with a fresh ream of printer paper ― you’re doing great! You can’t please everyone by pretending that they’re not on an entirely different wavelength from you. If someone is going out of their way to make things more difficult for you, remember that as soon as there’s another opening at this place, they’ll be gone before lunchtime. In other words, relax and go back to work.”
10) “I usually try to stay out of it and go with the flow. I just keep my eyes and ears open about what’s going on, but I’m careful about not crossing any lines.”
As you can see, there is no one set way of dealing with office politics that will work for everybody. What is your answer?