Office Politics: How to Deal with it

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Office Politics: How to Deal with it

When we hear the word 'Office Politics', the first few words that crop up are backstabbing, rumor-mongering, and everyone jumping on the bandwagon because no one wants to be the target. Considering this, you would want to avoid it as much as possible. But the harsh reality of it all is that no matter how much you try, you cannot escape it. In professional spaces, office politics often emerges as an unavoidable reality- whether you like it or not, you can't prevent it.

Office politics in professional environments encompass a range of behaviors that can significantly impact the workplace's working culture and the individual experiences of people working there. While it sounds daunting to deal with office politics, understanding and navigating the patterns and downsides of office politics is crucial to sustaining and thriving long-term in a professional space.

In this blog, we will discuss the dynamics of office politics, its negative patterns, and practical tips for dealing with it. So the next time you hear the word 'Office Politics', you will know how to deal with it with your sanity intact and not run away from it.

Here's your guide to navigating Office Politics:      

What is Office Politics?      

Office politics can be understood as the process of involving power and authority in human interaction. It includes the strategies and behaviors used by individuals to gain specific advantages and status within an organization. From networking and subtle alliances to manipulation and favoritism, office politics can manifest in various forms.

Do you know?  Office politics can have dual impacts: both positive and negative. On one hand, it can encourage people to adopt their best behavior, but on the other hand, it can negatively impact them by creating rifts and tensions among them. In order to understand and navigate the unavoidable office politics, it is important to be aware of certain terms and jargon that are a key part of this 'Office Politics' in a workplace.

Prevalent terms you should be aware of in Office Politics:      

  • Networking: It involves relationship-building or strategic alliances with others.
  • Visibility: Visibility in the context of office politics stands for recognition of good work or self-promotion.
  • Gossip: Gossip stands for Casual chatter or damaging rumors related to others.
  • Badmouthing: It means to criticize someone
  • Being pushy: It means being aggressive to get your work done.
  • Backstabbing: It involves undermining fellow colleagues behind their backs for personal agendas.
  • Groupism: Groupism means supporting people because they are a part of some group
  • Playing Favorites: It means to like or dislike certain people for personal reasons.
  • Lobbying: It involves seeking support for their own benefit.


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How do we identify negative patterns in Office Politics?      

Navigating office politics is essential to thrive in a workplace. To safeguard your well-being, recognising negative patterns in office politics becomes crucial to deal with its ramifications. Recognising the negative patterns requires you to be observant and attentive to the ongoing interactions and behaviors within the organization. Here are the patterns you should pay attention to:

  • Exclusionary Behavior: It involves the act of excluding someone without justification from meetings or decisions. Observe if there are certain individuals consistently left out of discussions or projects?
  • Sudden Alliances: Creating alliances solely for personal gain, sometimes at the expense of others.
  • Rumor Mongering: Notice whether the information shared is to inform or manipulate.
  • Credit Grabbing: It is known as the act of taking credit for the work of others or not acknowledging their contributions. Be observant of such patterns within the workplace.
  • Bandwagon Effect: Take account of whether the decisions follow thoughtful consideration or just blind conformity due to favoritism.

The Disadvantages of Office Politics      

Office politics do impact employees at an individual and the organization on a collective level by fostering a toxic workplace. Here are the downsides of office politics that have lasting impacts on the overall work culture of an organization:

  • Inducing Stress: Office politics, which involves dynamics like power, authority and manipulation often results in favoritism and sudden alliances. This often adds to the workplace stress for many employees.
  • Blurred personal and professional boundaries: The workplace stress that employees deal with due to ugly office politics often spills into their personal lives. This 'carried' work-related stress ends up blurring the boundary between personal and professional.
  • Affecting productivity: Another negative effect of office politics is the reduced productivity of the employees. Employees' focus, due to office politics, shifts from catering to their tasks to navigating a contentious atmosphere.
  • Fosters a Toxic work culture: Office politics contribute significantly to fostering a toxic work culture for the company employees. The diminished productivity and increased stress levels among employees create an environment of dissatisfaction among team members.


You can here read about the Effects of Stress on your Body

The Advantages of Office Politics      

  • Networking: Office politics can help you identify crucial people and gain meaningful contacts, which can help you grow.
  • Adaptability: One of the key outcomes of office politics is adaptability. Getting involved in office politics would push you to change your old ways and help you adjust and adapt easily.
  • Motivation: Getting involved in office politics can even act as a motivator, pushing you to perform better. There can be plenty of reasons, such as you might want to prove yourself, or someone just called you lazy.
  • Better Coordination: It helps to coordinate better as you understand the different work ethics of the people around you. It also helps you establish the right dialogue when you communicate with others. This is possible because of the understanding you will build by talking to others.


How to deal with Office Politics      

While it is essential to be aware of the terms and the disadvantages of Office Politics, the real trick lies in understanding how to navigate office politics without becoming a victim yourself. Here are certain practical tips you can apply to navigate office politics at your workplace:

1. Stay professional      

Your primary goal should be to remain focused on your work without getting involved in gossiping and taking sides in unnecessary conflicts. Keep your focus on your performance, and your quality of work speaks for itself. Develop a reputation of credibility by providing high-quality work. Reliable performance can shield you from some of the negative consequences of politics. Make sure to remain calm and professional in your interactions.

2. Communicate Effectively      

Communicating effectively and clearly is crucial when navigating office politics. Clear communication lets you prevent misunderstandings and reduce possible conflicts. Also, try to listen to others actively in order to respond more effectively.

3. Build Relationships      

Focus on cultivating authentic connections rather than just transactional alliances. Build genuine relationships with people based on trust and mutual respect. Earning trust is crucial in navigating office politics. Make sure to establish a positive relationship with your colleagues beyond just your immediate team.

4. Seek Guidance       

If you feel unfairly targeted, try seeking advice from a mentor. A mentor can help you navigate office politics and overcome challenging situations.

5. Document everything       

Try and make sure to document your work and interactions meticulously. A situation might arise where these records can save you from getting caught up in unnecessary trouble.

Applying these strategies allows you to manage office politics more effectively and create a more positive and productive work environment.

Dealing with office politics can be challenging at times. However, understanding the nuances of office politics, its negative impacts, and practical tips can help you navigate it effectively in order to thrive in your workplace without much harm. Solh Wellness aims to provide the tools and solutions one needs to manage their mental health.

Remember, the goal of anything in life is to strike a balance. Workplace politics can be hard to deal with and lower productivity. If you are in a job that is difficult to deal with because of politics, try and find your voice. Starting slow and making small changes can still have big effects on a personal and emotional level. Learn to separate your identity from what you do. Solh can be an effective tool for helping strike the perfect work-life balance and deal with any office politics. Here's how Solh's features can serve as preventive support:

Normalises Seeking Help: Solh combats the stigma connected with mental health by establishing a judgment-free zone. This can encourage someone battling with any negative feelings or stress to seek expert help.

Anonymous Support Groups: Connecting with those who understand your problem can be useful. Sharing experiences and realizing they are not alone can provide a great source of comfort and encouragement.  

Talk Now: When dealing with overwhelming emotions, have access to a counselor who can help guide you through any hiccup you face.

Clinical Support: The app's simple access to confidential consultations can be an excellent initial step for someone struggling with addiction who is hesitant to pursue traditional in-person therapy.

Other: Solh is a one-stop place for accessing and navigating different sources, such as audio, guides, and 
reading material, to help you deal with any ongoing stressor. Solh also offers an Employee Wellness Program, which can be beneficial and fruitful.

Download the Solh Wellness Android App now!