How to “Deal” with Politics at Work

You might not follow the banter in Washington, D.C., but if you work in any kind of organization with more than a handful of employees, you deal with your fair share of politics.

What are politics at work?

  • Jockeying for position
  • Not showing all your cards until the other person reveals theirs
  • Twisting the truth
  • Seeking the spotlight
  • Exposing others’ weaknesses for your benefit
  • Striving to get ahead at all costs
  • Manipulation

What are the results of politics?

  • Silos and alliances
  • Us vs. Them mentality
  • Guarded communication
  • Paranoia and suspicion
  • Low trust and low morale

When do political people see you as a threat?

  • When you are making them work harder
  • When you are exposing things they don’t want to show
  • When they are bothered because you don’t want to “play the game”
  • When they view your talent/expertise as a threat to their own professional aspirations

You can’t completely avoid politics when it’s part of the corporate culture. However, you don’t have to be a political person. Over time, you can initiate change when people begin to see that there is a better, healthier way to achieve success – both personally and as an organization.

Tips for “dealing” with politics:

  • Be yourself.
  • Don’t twist anything. The truth is always best.
  • Know your boundaries and values. Don’t cross those lines.
  • Pace yourself. Do what’s right at a cadence that others won’t find intimidating.
  • Influence, don’t force. Influence takes time.
  • Don’t rush to make a difference. Be ready as God makes things safe for you to act.
  • Be relational. Let people see your authentic desire to serve the company, not self-prosper.

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