On a cold February afternoon, a woman with sly smile on her face told three of us that the woman sitting right in front of us is corrupt and not trustworthy. And then she talked about each and everyone working in the entire department, not to mention with some negative things. I ignored her aversive thoughts, because she was a kind of person that you don’t want to appreciate, at first meeting anyway. Nevertheless it was the first taste of corporate politics for me and my two rookie colleagues, whom just have entered into the third week of a new job.
Since then lots of water has flowed under the bridge, and in those couple of years, I have learned awful lot about this evil practice plays within corporate walls, and acknowledges the fact that it does impact on one’s career. However I still prefer to stay away from office politics, though it isn't as much challenging as it was at the start of my career.
Having seen the murky, ugly and unfair advantaging aspects of it, my opinion remained the same about office politics, that it is muddy water. And you couldn't escape the wound once you jump into the fray. But there is a strong opinion that office politics is more compulsion rather than option, and sooner than later you will be a victim of it. So you've to play and better use it to your advantage.
This scenario may portray very bleak picture; however it doesn't have to be such a scary proposition.
Officepolitics.com; a website that offers advice to people struggling to cope with the little games of a corporate environment, its founder and Editor Franke James said in an interview: “It’s much better to understand how and why people are manipulating facts and events to bring about their desired outcome. Office politics is not necessarily ‘evil’. It is fact of life and everyone is better off learning how to deal with it- and how to use to their advantage!”
So if you will have to play, bear in mind the 1st rule that everyone is driven by self-interest, so learn what drives people.
Accordance to Thomas Becker, associate professor of management at the US university of Delaware: “Identify different constituencies at work… they each have different needs, recognizing their need is a good policy”.
But while it may be good idea to scratch each other backs, you need to make sure you don’t get trapped in another person’s agenda.
“The most profound thing to lookout for is irrational people. They are doings that they believe will work out for them in short run”, Becker wrote in his articles on bankrate.com.
However learn to balance this with groupism, it may be a temptation to build a team of like-minded people around you, but this will limit your independence as a professional.
If your boss has an appetite for office politics? Then beware of sycophants, and believe me they are everywhere.
“Watch out for boss’s pets. Don’t incur their wrath either”, is an advice on bankrate.com, instead try to use them to better your career prospects.
As far as the conflict is concern, the rule is pretty simple. Change your strategy if you aren't strong enough to stand and kick the opponent out. Recognition and acknowledgment is the way to get less rigid treatment from the people around you. But still there are always moments at work, when you are stuck in between the rock and the hard place because of dirty politics and even your most brilliant technical skills can’t able to save you in the long run. So either try to avoid the unavoidable with rigid approach like I do; or learn the rules and find your place in detestable business.