One of the biggest challenges at work is to maintain your integrity and to remain consistent with not only who you are, but who you strive to be. The drive to succeed, especially early in your tenure, can influence your thoughts and actions. This drive can lead to a strong desire to be completely accepted by your peers at work. Most people understandably want to be amiable and like by the other people in their office. They will do what is necessary to ensure that interactions through the day are as smooth as possible. However, it is exceedingly difficult to avoid finding yourself In the middle of office politics, as a result being socially compliant.
Office politics not only affects productivity and depresses morale, but it can be damaging to your career. It is important to learn how to avoid getting distracted by the drama and instead focus each day into being productive in your work. Learning how to navigate around the interpersonal chaos will be your best overall career move.
Cliques are not exclusive to school. They also exist in the workplace. It is very easy to want to be included within the “in crowd” at work. They seem to enjoy their day, have some laughs, be friends, and may even socialize outside of work. But these groups can have a negative effect on the work culture, productivity, and morale. The best way to rise above the desire to be included within these cliques is to foster relationships with a variety of colleagues, sometimes working in different departments with differing job duties, who can help you grow within your position and beyond.
Jealousy and resentment are the most common work distractions that people face. It is very easy to get emotionally wound up about the one who is asked to lunch with management or assigned to that high profile project. Managers are not immune to the effects of jealous staff and can often get dragged into the middle of a conflict between staff members. Competition is human nature, but it takes strength to let it go and realize that even though life does not seem fair at times, those with integrity, focus, and drive will be recognized – especially by those managers whose time you save by not forcing them to contend with negativity. Developing a “tough skin”, or objectivity is the best way to handle issues of jealousy. By having a tough skin and maintaining focus in your work, you will find that you simply do not care anymore about the surrounding jealousy or in being jealous yourself. The petty thoughts and emotions will eventually fall to the way side, as will the petty personnel, while the important tasks of the day sit in front of you ready to be successfully completed.
Building relationships both in and outside of your company is a great way to hone your leadership skills. Influence is a great leadership skill to develop, but not everyone takes the time to do so. Gaining experiences and meeting a variety of people in the community (outside of work) who handle negativity in different, positive ways will help you learn how to foster authentic and honest relationships with many different people, regardless of their ability to directly help you. Through these relationships, you will become adept at recognizing an office politician and immediately neutralizing their effect on you.
Rising above office politics can be achieved if you remain true to yourself. Even though it can be difficult to see yourself through the day-to day negativity, surrounding yourself with those at work in your community who are positive influences to your integrity and quality of work will allow you to see yourself and your potential quite easily and clearly. As a result, others will begin to seek you out as the voice of reason and regard you as a positive influence upon them as well.