Office Politics Survival Tips


Even when you do your best not to involve yourself in office politics, office politics will usually find a way of involving you! Avoidance isn’t always the best strategy either. Here are 5 top tips for managing the day to day drama and politics of office life.


Understand the personality and management style of senior colleagues

It’s important to understand the character of the people you’re working with and what motivates them, both inside and outside of work. This extends to their professional aspirations and general view of the organization. You should also know which other colleagues they have strong relationships with.

No one is going to give you this type of information directly, so just be careful, tactful and above all, a good listener.

Be nice, be cordial

So now that you’ve got a good measure of your co-worker’s backgrounds and relationships, you’ll still need to decide which groups you should focus strengthening your own relationships with.

This is more relevant in larger organizations, where the people you work with tends to change on a more frequent basis. For smaller officers, once groups are established they don’t change so often.

So basically, be nice to everyone, as in general this behavior is reciprocal and helps you keep appraised of anything that’s going on in the office, even if it doesn’t directly concern you.


Whining/complaining in the office

Work can be tough, and everyone needs to vent and complain at some point. Unfortunately, this is optimal fuel for office gossip, and while you might be a good listener and keep the opinions of your colleagues confidential, this might not always be the case with others.

Your complaints will become the primary source of rumors, so you should be guarded when sharing personal (and especially) negative opinions in the office. You wouldn’t hear this type of conversation between people on the train or bus, because most people are sensitive about being overheard, and the workplace should be no different.

Stay in the gossip, but avoid talking down about people

Your colleagues at some point in time will start complaining about someone, let’s say in this case it’s your boss. If you join in for the sake of joining in, you’ll come across as disloyal to the person being complained about. If you don’t contribute to the conversation, you’ll look awkward. Ideally, you would contribute to the conversation, but sway the topic away by linking the subject (your boss for example) to something else that’s not necessarily negative. Alternatively, you can find an excuse to leave the conversation altogether.

Sophia Wong

Brand and Marketing Strategist in Hong Kong, writes about career, job hunting and interview tips.

2 min read

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