Surviving the dilemma of office politics


OFFICE politics occurs in almost every workplace and its unavoidable. One can have negative feelings about it but the fact that one cannot avoid office politics remains a fact of life. Some people at workplaces might be thinking that ignoring office politics is the solution, not knowing that your lack of attention to what is happening in the workplace can be extremely dangerous. Office politics is a reality in many organisations, there is back-stabbing and intimidation everywhere.

By Emmanuel Zvada

Sometimes, even if you are the innocent party, you can be affected so there is no need to be afraid of office politics. High performers are those who have understood the art of winning in office politics. If you want to become a full-fledged professional in your industry, you have to learn how to deal with office politics or prevent becoming part of it.

Politics in an organisation refers to the use of one’s individual or assigned power within an employing organisation for the purpose of obtaining advantages that are beyond one’s legitimate authority. All workplaces are political to some extent, just because employees converge coming from different backgrounds with different ways of doing things, that only can trigger office politics. When employees meet at workplaces they bring their own personal emotions, needs, ambitions, and insecurities into their professional lives, if all these differences are not merged or these differences become difficult to manage that’s where office politics arise.

Escaping the influence of organisational politics requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. One has to recognise that no matter how bad the circumstances might be, reacting well will lead someone not to be affected by politics.

Some tips to handle and manage office politics are:

Avoid taking sides

Individuals should avoid appearing to take sides in any conflict that may happen in an organisation. In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. In cases like this avoid taking sides rather eliminate yourself from the issues and act as if you are not part of the issue, by this you are trying to be an in-between and avoid hating one individual by taking side of the other individual. By not taking sides, the issue will be handled in an objective manner at the same time that will not affect your trust with both parties.

Do your job effectively and efficiently

The tried, true, and tested method of surviving office politics is simply doing your job well. The moment you configure yourself that you are supposed to perform your duties efficiently and effectively you will be left with no time to waste especially in following and being involved in office politics. Hard workers who are determined, focused and goal-oriented are harder to target. In case you are included in politics such a conflict be in a position to have a constructive conflict. One should be in a position to learn how to steer the discussion and the direction that is constructive, and this is done when we disengage from petty differences but become resolution seekers.

Do not gossip

One of the most venomous, hurtful, and dangerous activities you can engage in this gossip. Everyone has experienced the harm of gossip before. Whether the people talking did not mean direct harm, the result of gossip is always broken trust and hurt feelings. Remember to do unto others the way you want to be treated. Avoiding gossiping can also help to reduce office politics, in this instant we should not gossip about our co-workers. Sometimes it is very difficult to close ears when others are talking but the advice would be for you not to carry the message forward and do not be tempted to spread the gossip against a co-worker.

Take time to continuously learn about your company

Learning about your company is not only done during induction or on-boarding but rather it is an ongoing process. Very few are humble enough to learn but that is critical, so that you are not caught unaware by the existing office politics. Before walking through a crossfire of an already existing office politics, or being caught on one side of it, get to learn your organization. Know who your supervisors are, the office policies and procedures, and the organisational structure. This way, when things get bad, you know how and when to report it formally, and to whom you should submit the complaint or report. By learning your office policies and procedures, you can easily know who to report to how to deal with a situation as well as what is supposed to be done.

The above are not the only ways to deal with office politics, Politics in organisations has many dimensions it can good or bad but what is needed is for us to be politically savvy. Resigning your job due to office politics thinking that other companies would not have such politics might be miscalculation, as the only difference is in the degree of politics.

 Emmanuel Zvada writes in his own capacity he is a Human Capital Consultant / International Recruitment Expert and Author: For comments inbox to or call +263771467441.