Corporate Management - The murky world of office politics
by Ranjini Banerjee
Most of us would shy away from entering active politics, as we consider it ‘dirty’, consisting of mud slinging and steeped in corruption. However, little do we realise that we already are part of this so-called ‘politics’ in our very own workplace. So what is this office politics that we keep hearing about and experiencing from time to time, but cannot really pin down?
It is difficult to deal with this scenario because there is no definite person that you can pinpoint. However, seekers can find ways to deal effectively with this scenario, and even bring about a positive change in their environment and in others.
“Office politics is a reality. So much so, that organisations have now started imparting training on proper handling of it under the discipline of ‘Organisational Savvy’. During a typical day at work, colleagues can infer lighthearted comments as accusations, giving rise to bad blood. Gossip can cause a harmless story to spread like wildfire until an innocent team member is ostracised. Some negative impacts can be avoided by being cheerful, fair, and transparent with co-workers. Remember, office politics is often the result of professional jealousy and the accompanying insecurities at the workplace,” says Aditi Das, PR Manager at an MNC employing 600 people.
Anil Bhatnagar, well-known corporate trainer and motivational speaker clarifies, “Politics is very common in workplaces, because workplaces mirror what we carry within.” The solution, he says, is two-fold: oneness within and without. Spend time with yourselves every night before going to bed to review the happenings of the day, and seeing honestly your own fears, anxieties, worries, and gaps between the inner values you profess to hold, and the actual values that your behaviour reveals. Also, never carry your grievances to anyone other than your offender, simply because you find it more convenient to do so. Politely express your observations and the feelings they evoked, while giving him a chance to explain. This will make the other person realise that he will face similar inconveniences of explaining his behaviour and risking his acceptance by others every time he repeats his questionable behaviour.
Attitude is everything and it is a choice. How you choose to react to office politics will reflect the outcome. If you focus on how to get along with others rather than how to protect yourself from manipulative people, you change your thought pattern and your reactions, in turn bringing about positive changes around you. Some ways in which you can effectively and positively deal with office politics are as follows:
Make a conscious choice to feel positively about the situation.
Direct attention inwards and see if you can do something to make the others’ work easier.
Open your heart by appreciating even those who have hurt you. Focus on their good qualities rather than their weakness. Soon they will respond similarly, as, after all, it is difficult to be bad to someone who is being nice to you.
Do not belittle your co-workers, as you have to be little to belittle!
Remember that you too have been prone to suspicions, insecurities, and judgments, so your co-workers may be similarly suffering too.
Be the one to take the first step towards resolving the situation instead of cribbing or accepting defeat. The outcome could surprise you – pleasantly!
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