Personality conflicts are a fact of life, and learning how to get along with all types of people is a skill the will behoove any person, no matter what the profession. For those of us who work in intense areas like predictive analytics, strategic selling, financial crimes, and ID theft protection, finding ways to keep from getting distracted and even derailed by “office politics” is critical. By employing a few simple tactics, you can avoid getting bogged down by the inevitable office politics.
The first thing you need to do is be consistent with who you are. When trying to establish yourself as a leader, you may tend to worry about being liked. The temptation is to give in to the pressure around you even if it means violating your own conscience. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end . . . I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.” When all is said and done, you have to live with yourself at the end of the day; make sure you keep your conscience clear.
The next thing you want to do is focus on being the best version of yourself that you can be. Listening to office gossip, where people specialize in bashing those who have better skills, can be a moral killer. The green-eyed monster of jealousy is alive and well in every human being, and jealousy and resentment motivate people to say and do cruel things. Rather than looking to others to confirm your abilities, perform “self-evaluations” where you objectively look at how you are doing and decide if what people are saying holds any truth. If it doesn’t, toss it out, and move on with life.
Another important thing to do is to make an intentional choice to stay above office politics. The politicking phenomenon exists no matter where you work. You can choose to either be on everyone else’s level or to rise above. If you see politicking going on in the office, choose not to be a part of it.
Besides staying apart from politicking, make a point to build relationships with other people outside the company. This affords you opportunities to learn from other successful leaders. By being with others, you can also learn what the signs of politicking are and then avoid the possibility of being manipulated in the future.
Lastly, make a conscious choice to be a positive influence, the voice of non-complaint. Rather than just not joining in, try making a difference. If you truly want to lead, start by leading in the office culture. Rather than joining in the complaining and insulting. Be the voice of positives and non-complaints. Look for the good in others and point it out. Change has to start somewhere, and you could be that place.
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