Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tough Times in the Hollow of Office Politics

Office Politics? What is this?

You don’t actually experience what an office politics is without being competitive with the rest of your office peers. Noticeably, office politics has been exponentially creeping into an office environment.  As quoted from the "Surviving Office Politics", Talent Scout, April 16, 1998,  "Eighteen percent of an administrator's time — more than nine weeks out of every year — is spent resolving conflicts among employees".

Michael Alesko, on his article,  "Office Politics: Do You Play or Pass," in Today's Careers defines office politics as, “the use and misuse of power in the workplace". It implies that “office politics” is not essentially a bad thing.  I, therefore, affirm that it isn’t always bad and certainly it is unavoidable.

It is important to know that being dynamic in the work environment we play  is an essential ingredient in how a business is run.  As a member of the working force, we are to be plausible and versatile to fit ourselves in every situation. Remember, that everyone comes from a different background and orientation in life. We cannot just put in any way our standards to others nor can others do the same to us.

In every game, there is a rule. And players in order not to be disqualified must know the rules.  We, as the players must play our respective game fairly, knowing that office politics can be the most competitive game of all. Its chances are quite high. Either way, we can keep our job or get promoted if we succeed and lose our job and may be thumping the wall applying for a new job.

There is always the good side and the bad side on playing office politics. What we are apt to do is to seek mutual benefit. We don’t bite the one who feeds us because our source of financial blessing is from them. We need to have the right attitude by knowing our job role. Another is evaluating our performance measures.  At the end, we need to consider individual strengths and abilities. Remember, no one stands alone. I may do what others can’t as well as others can do what I cannot. Everyone should focus on objectives. If there is unity and transparency in a workplace, then, we may tap the most out of our investments and potentials to become successful.

For working people, office is the second home. And the people around are the second family. As one family, the establishment of a rapport in a relationship is crucial.

Like any place, the workplace is where you bring a bunch of people together. It is a mishmash of many different personalities. There are coworkers who are easy to work with, and those difficult people to deal with. The workplace differs from  other places because even the difficult people must cooperate in order to be productive.  And one of the most serious reasons of conflicts in a workplace is gossip.

Gossip is an unavoidable presence in a workplace and of course an annoying habit. A gossiper seems to know everything about everyone. It may carry elements of truth and falsehood. In this case, you have to  examine every gossip with a skeptical eye. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Before you act on something you hear, confirm that it's true. A lot of what comes down the pike is downright false. And then there's the "telephone effect." Remember the children's game, telephone? You whisper something to the person next to you and then he or she whispers what he or she thinks you said to the next person, and so on. Then the last person in the chain says it aloud. The first person in the chain then repeats the original sentence which of course is quite different. Once a fire is sparked, it may affect not only the person concern but most is the work. You will be out of your concentration and your momentum would be messed about.

You can be a Chatterbox – most pleasant, friendly, but trying to harm anyone by her relentless talking that keeps anyone from concentrating their work. Rather than risk insulting your colleague, put the blame on yourself. Tell your coworker you have trouble concentrating while you are listening to her very engaging stories. You'd love to hear them at some other time, just not while you're working. Then, if you truly enjoy her company, have lunch with her once a week. 

One of your coworker can be a Complainer. There's always one person in a group who can never find anything about which to be happy. The incessant complains about anything is getting on your nerves.  Change the subject whenever the bellyaching begins. Your colleague should get the hint after you do this repeatedly.
In your workplace, there are always someone who wants to share his work with his colleagues. Those who either can't do all the work they have been given or don't want to do it. If  you already have your hands full, then you have to turn down the request. Tell your coworker you have your own work with which to deal. If team work is encouraged in your office and you have time to help your colleague you should. 

There is also one who does not acknowledge any help she receives from others. She accepts all the praise for a project without mentioning that she didn't do it alone. The first time this happens, consider it a mistake. Mention it to your colleague and ask her to let others know about your participation. If she doesn't, or if this happens again, make sure you let others know about the role you played in getting a project done. Then, unless you are mandated to work with this person, refuse to help out again.

It's really tough going along with people you didn't grow up with. However, with proper knowledge and training, you will keep yourself abreast of them and the situation. Everyone should emerge a winner! A winner not by competing through ideas, words of mouth, or fists but winning everyone around by establishing a rapport. It's a matter of a mindset, I guess!  Let's try it, so we will know . . .

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