With the US laser-focused on the Presidential election season, it’s a good time to talk about how to handle some office politics.

Your office doesn’t indulge? All cultures have some politics going on, even if it goes on below your radar. Managers have agendas, executives have vision (or visions) and every employee should be keeping the company’s long-term strategies in mind if he or she wants to move up in the organization.

Handling internal politics can, however, be a challenge.

Here are some tips for dealing with office politics without coming out the loser:

  1. Be observant. Especially during your first year in a new company, keep your eyes and ears open, particularly to the nonverbal information swirling around your office. You will be able to figure out who is on the same team and who is in competition. Eventually, you will be able to decide who is an ally in your own strategic plan and how to handle those who are not.
  2. Be cool. Office politics can be very emotional and dramatic. Use your EQ to determine how to use those emotions to forward your agenda, not someone else’s.
  3. Be selective. Every fight is not worth winning. Being known to be flexible and rational will stand you in good stead when something comes up that is your “line in the sand.”
  4. Be truthful. There is nothing more important than your integrity. You don’t need to say everything you think, but when you do talk about office politics, always be honest.
  5. Be patient. If you really hate office politics, don’t participate. But do remain aware of what is going on around you. If it gets too bad, you have choices to make, but try staying out of the fray before you turn and run.
There is no doubt that office politics can sometimes cause big problems, but a little extra attention can go a long way in managing the agendas of others in support of your own.
Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative