3 Keys to Managing Office Politics

3 Keys to Managing Workforce Politics

By on July 31, 2014

In my previous post, I gave you a little deeper peek into my life, and today as promised I wanted to share you with some of the most valuable lessons that I have learned in my 15 year career in retail management. During the span of my career I have led teams that range in size from less than 10 people to more than 100 people.  First of all, I just want to put it out there that no matter what field you consider your calling and wherever  you punch your time clock everyday there is a level of politics in your workforce. When you get any group of people together, there are various backgrounds and experiences that impact all of the interactions that will involve the group. That fact along with the fact that in any workplace there is a hierarchy level that must be followed means that politics are sure to follow. I  also want to go on record saying that I am not a fan of politics in the office, but it is a necessary evil when it comes to navigating a successful career which is why following these key steps is a must do for anyone who is looking to ensure a stellar review at the end of the year or secure a much needed promotion.

 

 There is No Safe Place to Vent

We have all been in a situation where you are unhappy about a policy or an interaction that we have had with either a supervisor or a coworker and the natural reaction that most people have is to vent in order to get past whatever it is and move on about their day. However, when it comes to the workplace, there is no safe place to vent or a safe person to vent to. Even when you feel a strong connection to a person in your office, remember that relationships and alliances shift and change which means that loyalties and confidences also shift and change. I have seen careers and reputations ruined based on those shifting alliances. People who thought their peers could be trusted were soon faced with the harsh reality that those secret conversations were shared with everyone. If the information that you shared with the person that you thought was a confidant can be used to advance their own personal career, you would be surprised how quickly a person will betray your confidence  and in the end you are the one who pays the price.  My advice when it comes to dealing with those situations is to find a trusted person that is not employed at the same company and not associated with the situation to vent to.  My go to person to vent to is my husband. With him, I am able to share my day and my frustration so I can get past whatever is bothering me and I know that my secrets are safe with him.

 Choose Your Battles Wisely

Another major lesson that I have learned along the way is that you must choose your battles wisely when it comes to voicing your opinion in the workplace. No one wants to be that guy that complains for the sake of complaining. Instead, reserve your concerns for those instances that the complaint is not only valid, but will also bring value to a situation. In addition, in order to gain a reputation as a key member of the team you must bring a solution to the table in addition to voicing your complaints. This solution shows that you are forward thinking and also have the best interest of the business at heart.

Never Sacrifice Your Reputation

There is no doubt that emotions can run high when it comes to conflict in an office setting. However, if you are looking to have success in the long run you must remember that once words are spoken they cannot be taken back. As good as it may feel in the moment to verbally spar with another, in the end your reputation is the one that will be damaged. Your reputation is what will ultimately secure your next position in the organization and you cannot afford to have it damaged in anyway. If you are faced with this obstacle in your career practice your counting skills by counting to 10 before answering any statement. Also, if the feeling gets too intense do not be afraid to walk away. Walking away demonstrates a level of maturity that will solidify your reputation in the long run.

Your career is your livelihood and your reputation is your lifeline to success protect it with all you have when you are navigating the world of office politics.

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