As we discussed last week, politics are alive and well even in the smallest of companies. Sometimes politics is disguised as “drama.” Whatever we call it, we usually know it when we see it. How we handle it, however, is another challenge.
This past week I reached out to a couple colleagues who learned to succeed amid politics, and they shared some great insights! If you’re struggling with how to deal with politics, here are eight additional actions that will help you maintain your productivity, your integrity, and your ability to influence others in a positive way.
- Don’t fight politics. If you do, you may very well lose your job. Instead, be aware of the landmines and respectfully state your opinion and how you feel so others know where you stand.
- Give the benefit of the doubt. Try to assume everyone’s intentions are good, regardless of how you feel about what they are saying or doing. Have the mindset of working “with” people instead of “against” them.
- Share information. Knowledge is not power, and hoarding information is not powerful. It’s stupid and petty. If you don’t share your information, then your teammates can’t work effectively. Sharing your knowledge and allowing others to do their jobs better is a form of influence because you are serving. Influence and serving others is power.
- Do your research. The more you know about the project, the industry, the goals and so on, the better you are able to bring the group back to the facts and the right context if people begin to put one side against the other or spin the truth.
- Remember silence = agreement. Not speaking up might keep you safe and get you out of the meeting faster, but keep in mind you are communicating that you agree.
- Get things done. Nothing bugs political people more than a productive teammate!
- Build relationships with everyone. Our role is to serve one another, and when we see ourselves in that role, it’s harder to let politics take over. The better we know and understand people, the better we’re able to serve them.
- Ask questions. When you don’t agree with an agenda, ask good questions as a way to help you understand or as a way to get other ideas into the mix. Don’t question the decision; that can be seen as disrespectful. Instead, have a positive mindset in seeking understanding, and ask questions like:
- How can my division support this effort?
- How do you see it changing our culture?
- What concerns do you have with employees that I could help with?
- What happened to make this decision become a reality?