For a business newbie, the only politics at the office are discussions about either Barack Obama, or Donald Trump at the water cooler. But this isn’t at all what I’m referring to. And if you don’t know what office politics are, you should stop, get out a pen, and start to take notes because you have not been playing the game correctly.
For starters, Wikipedia defines office politics as : Workplace politics is the process and behavior in human interactions involving power and authority. And this is a great starting description of what exactly office politics is all about, but let me break it down for you into more real world examples. Be sure to read on because there will be some tips, tricks, and guides to help you boost yourself at the company you work for. Let’s start out with some definite must haves for office politics.
- You must have a good attitude in the workplace – This means that while in the office you must put your best foot forward at all times, and try to keep a smile on your face. This is essential for any good office politician. You can think about real politicians, and how they traverse through countless negative interactions, they seem to never loose their cool. You too must garner this as a way of life while within the office.
- Never loose your cool with either bosses, peers, or subordinates – A great way to torpedo, or sink, your career is to fly off the handle and let someone really know how you think. The boss or owner will not like this for one of many reasons, and let’s bullet point them here:- If you get into it with another employee, or peer, you have started a problem that your boss must now address. I guarantee that your boss will view this a distraction for the business that you should be attending to. And worst of all, if you are blamed as the starter of the drama, you may be on the fast track to the unemployment lines.- Getting reported to HR…Oooops. Well in today’s world of employment you have to be very careful about what you say, how you say it, and who you say it to. Yes, that’s a lot to consider, but people have been written up for saying off hand remarks at after hours happy hours, after hours dinners, or work events. The best thing that you should do, is to keep it friendly, and polite, and team focused.
- Be a Team Player – Now, some of my comments here are situation dependent, and you’ll have to assess your own situation to determine what is right. You never want to engage in non-professional activity or requests that go outside of your basic job description. Also, you never want to do anything sexual, illegal, or just plain wrong. BUT… with disclaimers out of the way, let’s all try to focus on the point here. And that point is, that you should try to always make your boss happy, and also make her/his life a little easier. It’s a fine line to walk here, because you also have to keep a high value for yourself, and be thought of as someone who is necessary and essential for the growth of the company. The spirit of this “must have”, is that you must have the attitude of doing whatever it will take to help the company prosper. Use your best judgement of course.
- Put in extra work – Don’t be afraid to put in a little extra work to get ahead in life. You’ll have to strategically take the extra work, ensure that you are getting noticed for this extra work, without seeming like a “brown nose”. So, you can say things like “sure, I’ll take on that project” from time to time, and you’ll be rewarded for it in the long run. The opposite of this will be to never take that extra project, to always leave early. This probably isn’t the reputation that you want to keep.
- Your reputation proceeds you – This means that before some people ever meet you they may learn about you through comments of coworkers, your boss, or through human resources. This is essential and crucial part of scaling the corporate ladder. You don’t want to get overly drunk at the Xmas party, and go home late or early with a coworker. This is exactly what will forever crown you as “NOT MANAGEMENT MATERIAL”. Or, if you are already management, your boss may not take kindly to this behavior and it may subject the company to sexual harassment law suits.
Develop a winning Strategy
Winning at office politics really isn’t that hard, and often can be described similar to being a star employee. So how exactly do you implement your plan. Well you can start off by implementing the brief list of must haves up above. You’ll want to:
- Put in extra work.
- Let your bosses know you are a team player.
- Ask for promotions.
- Let your bosses know you are in it for the long haul.
- Never loose your professionalism at the office, or a work function.
- Never show you are disgruntled. Always present a positive attitude.
This an abbreviated list, that we plan to keep adding to with the help of our readers. So please comment down below and let us know your tips, tricks, and suggestions for conquering the workplace and becoming a boss.