Ah, Monday mornings at work. Everyone looks like that thing the cat dragged in, minus that one co-worker who doesn’t drink, he hiked a mountain and feels great. You recount stories of your revelry, hope you didn’t bump into too many work colleagues during your more festive moments and return to your desk to grind out the day.
Then it all goes tits up. You hear someone whispering something in the kitchen and they stop abruptly when you walk in, you’re being blamed for something that wasn’t your job to do in the first place and you may have made a pass at the new intern. Work politics really are the worst.
So how can you navigate the murky waters of the office and come out smelling like roses? First let’s define the term ‘office politics’ and see why understanding them is a necessary evil courtesy of SCJ:
…the use of one’s individual or assigned power within an employing organization for the purpose of obtaining advantages beyond one’s legitimate authority.”
People engage in office politics to reap financial, emotional and even physical rewards. Those who engage the most vigorously often have significant unmet needs, a specific agenda, a desire for power, and the ability to forgo ethics and integrity to get what they want.
So what tips should we carry around so that we can reap the rewards without being THAT person? Here’s your handy list of do’s and dont’s with apologies for the American spelling:
Play Nice – Courtesy, respect, politeness and office etiquette start and end with you. Show your coworkers kindness, and encourage them to do the same.
Fight Fair – Sometimes the game of office politics can get downright nasty, and there’s nothing you can do but get in the ring. But before the fur starts to fly, focus on the issue, not the person. Address behaviors, never the individual. Handle confrontations privately, fairly and without judgment.
Keep Your Cool – Nothing that happens at the office is worth a heart attack. In the big scheme of things, will the issue matter in a week? A month? A year? As you keep things in perspective, you will also be less prone to turning incidents into catastrophes. Strive for equanimity at all times.
Forgive and Forget – If you’ve been maligned, candidly address the issue at the source. Then shake hands and move on. Bearing grudges or, worse, returning fire will serve only to damage your own reputation.
Keep It Zipped – While office gossip and chatter can be titillating, it can also be cruel. Think of gossip as spam or junk mail and hit the “delete” button. When people approach you with juicy details about Mr. or Ms. So-and-So, politely put a stop to the conversation and exit. When gossipmongers realize that no one is listening, they’ll quiet down and get back to work.
You may be able to choose your friends but you can’t choose your co-workers. The best you can do is head somewhere that encourages a certain kind of co-worker, a place where some of the country’s finest startups are sprouting their seeds.
Must we spell it out for you? Sheesh, alright, we’re talking about The Bureaux. Located here in the Woodstock Exchange, the same place that we call home, The Bureaux is a sure-fire way to make sure you surround yourself with good people.
For just R1 500 per month you can get your own desk space that comes with cleaning, security and uncapped high-speed internet.
You had me at uncapped.
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